Frequently Asked Questions
Check this page regularly, as questions will be added throughout the campaign!
Why is the SPCA constructing a new building?
The SPCA, located at 205 Ensminger Road in Tonawanda, has been in its current facility for more than 50 years! When we originated in 1867, our organization was located in downtown Buffalo. We moved to Tonawanda in 1962, and at that time, ours was an innovative, state-of-the-art shelter, attracting visits from animal shelter employees throughout the country. However, animal welfare needs have changed dramatically since 1962. Once thought of primarily as an adoption organization that also conducted animal cruelty investigations and admitted unwanted animals, our humane society now fills many other equally-important needs, such as extensive veterinary treatments and animal behavior modification. The entire face of animal welfare is changing in Erie County, which renders our shelter completely outdated and bursting at the seams in 2016.
What do you mean the shelter is outdated?
Today, our mission is constrained by inadequate and inefficient facilities. Our 140-square-foot infirmary barely meets the needs of the more than 4,500 animals treated for injuries and diseases annually, not to mention the additional number of animals being spayed/neutered, vaccinated, or receiving other medical care on a daily basis. Lacking isolation space, we cannot assist animals with many contagious diseases, even if easily treatable. Hundreds of animals each year receive behavior modification before being put up for adoption, leading to extremely tight spaces. Our Wildlife Department, which wasn’t even in existence in 1962 when our current home was built, literally operates out of a converted closet, treating more than 2,500 wild creatures of 120 varying species per year.
How is the SPCA bursting at the seams?
In our current home we have one closet that is used for its intended purpose. Other closets have been converted into office space, extended office space, or actual departments! In fact, our multi-purpose auditorium has become home to our Humane Education Department, Behavior and Training Department, additional office spaces, meeting space, educational space for at-risk youth, and numerous cages to handle cat/kitten “overflow.” Several offices and even the ladies’ rest room have animal cages or other set-ups to house additional overflow. Our new home will allow us to better handle our animal population, and will allow us to care for more injured wildlife in our growing rehabilitation program. It will provide community members with better access to our programs and services, and students’ access to many different educational opportunities. It will create efficiencies that will permit a greater percentage of funds to be devoted to animal care. And it will help assure that Erie County remains a kind, caring community dedicated to the humane treatment of all creatures.
Where is the SPCA moving?
The SPCA Serving Erie County will be moving to West Seneca, where we will be able to more efficiently accommodate all of Erie County that we serve. The address is 300 Harlem Road, West Seneca, NY 14224.
Why West Seneca? Aren’t there more populated parts of Erie County?
There are certainly parts of Erie County more populated than West Seneca. However, because we're dealing with live animals (as opposed to retail merchandise or office supplies or the like), in addition to population, there are several factors our team must consider when selecting land for the shelter. There were other properties under consideration, but currently this West Seneca site is the front-runner because it has much of what is necessary for the layout of a 52,000-square-foot animal shelter combined with a parking lot and barn structure. It is also a highly-visible location that can easily be seen from two major highways, I-90 and Rt. 400, which will make it easy for community members to find. We'd be remiss selecting a site based ONLY on population since we service all of Erie County, a county of more than 1,000 square miles of land, regardless of where our shelter is situated.
When does the SPCA anticipate opening a new facility?
Construction started April, 2016! We anticipate construction will take approximately one year.
How is the SPCA funding a new building?
The SPCA’s RAISE THE ROOF capital campaign is seeking private donations and grants. As a 100% privately-funded organization that receives no government funding or tax-payer dollars, just as our annual fund relies solely on the generosity of our community, the capital campaign will reach its $14.7 million goal through the support of our friends, foundations, and corporate partners.
I'm thinking of donating to help make this happen, but how can I be sure my donation will be used responsibly?
We consistently encourage community members to do their homework before donating to any charitable organization. You can rest assured the SPCA has a long history of using donations in the most responsible way possible, and if our 149-year history of growth isn't enough of a testimony to that, check out our rating on Charity Navigator, America's most well-respected charity evaluator! Spoiler alert: the SPCA Serving Erie County is one of only 2% of all charities evaluated to receive Charity Navigator's top honors EIGHT YEARS IN A ROW! Read the full story here!