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Niagara County SPCA Makes Gains, Still Needs Work

By Tony Farina

Ashley Andrews has concerns about NCSPCA.

We can fully, completely, and without reservation embrace No Kill as our future. Or we can continue to legitimize the two-pronged strategy of failure: adopt a few and kill the rest. It is a choice which history has thrown upon us.
We are the generation that questioned the killing. We are the generation that has discovered how to stop it. Will we be the generation that does?
--Nathan Winograd.

The words of the leader of the No Kill Movement, Nathan Winograd, who will speak at UB on Saturday, Feb. 17, have helped inspire his movement that has been embraced by shelters across the United States, including right here in Western New York.

One example is the Niagara County SPCA which was the classic model of how not to run a shelter not too long ago when allegations of animal abuse and mismanagement angered animal rights activists and led to a changing of the guard at the facility from top to bottom.

Now, according to Board Member David Bower, things have changed for the good.

“We had a 99.1 percent save rate for the “month of December,” Bower told the Reporter last week,” and our save rate for November was 94 percent. We couldn’t be happier.”

Indeed, it appears that the Niagara County SPCA has made great strides since the release of a scathing report last January indicting the shelter for its practices across a wide spectrum.

However, while important gains have been made, some members of the shelter believe there is much more to do, especially in the area of transparency and accountability.

The shelter did not hold its annual membership meeting last May, and some members have been concerned about the rumblings of the need for a crematorium at the shelter which would seemingly contradict its no-kill direction.

Bower denies any money has been set aside for a crematorium and said the shelter has been actively raising money to support its no-kill agenda, including one last week at the Topper Social Club in Niagara Falls that “went very well.” At the event, Bower said pictures of animals ready for adoption were displayed and he said the shelter plans to do “a lot more of these kind of events,” noting the shelter is currently running a deficit of $138,000 which he attributed, in part, to the high cost of no kill.
An aggressive adoption drive has been successful, according to Bower, who said the no-cost adoptions have helped bring in donations from the new owners. “We’d rather the animals be adopted than stay in the shelter,” he said, and the public appears to be responding.

Bower praised the efforts of Andrew Bell, the shelter’s executive director, and called the work of Amy Lewis, the shelter director, “phenomenal.”

Again, not everyone agrees that the shelter is quite as good as Bower says, but most everyone agrees that significant improvement has been achieved. Accountability and transparency, according to member and animal rights advocate Ashley Andrews, are still lacking and the organization is in need of bylaws to govern its mission.

You can expect Andrews and other strong animal rights activists to continue to hold the shelter accountable, and that’s certainly a good thing because the animals need a voice.

The Niagara SPCA will have a fund-raiser on Feb. 24 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Bear’s Den at the Seneca Niagara Casino.
Bower says the Niagara no-kill shelter will be well represented at Nathan Winograd’s UB presentation on Feb. 17 when the no-kill leader will discuss the movement and answer questions during a six-hour program beginning at noon. For more information on Winograd’s free program or to register, go to http://NoKillBuffaloNiagara.org.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Jan 29 , 2013