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SPCA Serving Erie County nearing crisis situation

Jul 19, 2023 | In the News

SPCA animal cruelty investigators say they are on track with the rising number of animal cruelty arrests this year as compared to last year’s exorbitant increase. Oct. 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021, there were 13 animal cruelty arrests amidst hundreds of animal cruelty cases, nearly double the year prior, and this year’s numbers remain high. Oct. 1, 2022, to July 17, 2023, there have already been seven animal cruelty arrests by the SPCA in Erie County. This year is different, however, in that more of these cases are felony cases. That means the circumstances are more severe and more complicated, with animals requiring much more care and attention with longer lengths of stay.

Types of cruelty cases include beating, abandonment, animals left outdoors in extreme heat without water or shelter, and animals living in unsanitary conditions.

The SPCA is seeing an increase in the number of cruelty cases due to the following situations: cost of living increases, uncared for mental health conditions, increases in substance abuse, and post-COVID-19 conditions including the expiration of the eviction moratorium and the return to in-person work. In addition, access to spay/neuter surgeries was extremely limited during the pandemic, resulting in a severe overpopulation of dogs.

Reports of an increase in animal cruelty are not just coming from the United States. A January 2023 article from the World Animal Foundation states that in the United Kingdom, the rate of abuse of just dogs has risen by 16% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that, worldwide, animal cruelty complaints have increased by 55% in the past 10 years.

Care and housing for these animals most in-need and at-risk must be prioritized by the organization in terms of space, veterinary care, and resources. This, combined with adoptable dogs and cats who have been with the SPCA a prolonged period of time, means that kennels and cages are filled and the SPCA is close to reaching maximum capacity. They must continue animal cruelty investigations and rescues while continuing to provide the best care possible to the animals awaiting adoption, especially the longer-stay residents who require more time and attention to keep them mentally and emotionally stable despite extended stays in kennels and cages.

As the SPCA provides care for animals most in-need and at-risk, they may be forced to close animal admissions for an extended time. They can, however, still offer assistance to those seeking ways to keep their pets or provide community resources to those looking to surrender pets, to those who require veterinary care, and more.

How you can help with these emergency needs:
• Community members are asked to adopt and take advantage of the SPCA’s trial adoption program (If The Fur Fits) and current adoption special (half-off animals one year and older).
• Community members are asked to participate in an upcoming Speed Dating adoption event on July 20 and July 21 from noon to 8 p.m. at the SPCA. Adoption fees will be waived for animals one year and older! Guest passes are not necessary.
• The SPCA has an urgent need for community members to open their homes to provide temporary care to foster animals.
• Be patient regarding animal admissions … find alternative solutions like Rehome or let the SPCA assist with pet retention so surrendering isn’t necessary.

To learn more about adopting and see available animals, visit //YourSPCA.org/adoptable-animals.

To learn more about fostering an animal at the SPCA, visit //YourSPCA.org/FosterCare.

To learn more about the SPCA’s Speed Dating event, visit //YourSPCA.org/SpeedDatingJuly23.

To learn more about the Rehome program, offering assistance in rehoming pets, visit //YourSPCA.org/Rehome.

To learn more about resources in the community who can provide low-cost veterinary care, animal rehoming services, and more, visit //YourSPCA.org/CommunityResources.

To report animal cruelty in Erie County, contact the SPCA Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.

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