More Than 115 Spiders, Snakes, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish Rescued from East Amherst Home; Owner Faces Animal Cruelty Charges
September 14, 2016
By: Gina Browning, SPCA Director of Public Relations

Yesterday, the SPCA Serving Erie County's Director of Animal Cruelty Investigations Aaron Kandefer charged Mary Hughes of East Amherst with two Class A misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

SPCA animal cruelty investigators and members of the Animal Rescue Team were present at Hughes' Wellingwood Drive home Friday, September 9, removing more than 115 snakes, birds, fish, spiders, frogs, lizards, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals living in improper, unsafe, and unsanitary housing.  All are currently being housed and cared for at the SPCA's Tonawanda shelter. One animal, an iguana who was emaciated and lethargic, showing signs of difficulty moving due to a broken back, was euthanized for humane reasons. Several hundred insects were removed from the property as well.

Hughes is scheduled to appear in Town of Amherst Court Thursday, October 13, at
1:00 pm. 

Several thousands of dollars have been and/or will be spent on veterinary care and veterinary specialists for these unique animals, as well as the purchase of proper tanks and other housing structures, and costs affiliated with equipment, supplies, and additional hours of care required to provide these animals proper living conditions. To contribute towards the care of these special animals, please make a donation here or contact the SPCA at 716-629-3523. An online donation form will be available later today.

Many of the animals have been signed over to the SPCA and will be available for adoption at the
205 Ensminger Rd., Tonawanda shelter, the SPCA's Eastern Hills Mall adoption site (back of the mall, across from Dipson Theatres), Honey Hill Pet Center at the Eastern Hills Mall, and PetSmart on Niagara Falls Blvd. in Amherst starting Thursday, September 15. See the list of animals available for adoption below. Visit the SPCA's adoptable animals page and offsite adoptable animals page to see which animals are available for adoption and their locations. Adoption fees ranging from $5 to $350 will be reduced by 10% from standard adoption fees for these species.

More information on this case and on adoption specials will be shared on, and on the SPCA's Facebook page and Twitter account.

Available for adoption as of 9/15/16;
to see the animals' adoption locations 
please visit

2 rats (available 9/14/16)
4 hamsters (available 9/14/16)
7 snakes (corn snakes, ball pythons, king snake, gopher snake)
1 Desert Iguana
1 Bearded Dragon
1 Leopard Spotted Gecko
1 Fat Tailed Gecko 

1 Western Painted Turtle

 1 Amazon Parrot
1 Cockatiel
1 Parakeet
9 Lovebirds

1 Fire Bellied Toad
4 African Dwarf Frogs
7 African Clawed Frogs

200+ Hissing Cockroaches (female)
100+ Hissing Cockroaches (male)