By Jamie Nash:
The Sabres may be struggling and the Bills may not be heading to the Super Bowl this year, but Buffalo is a champion when it comes to saving the lives of shelter animals. Animal shelters in the city of Buffalo and surrounding areas have become almost completely “no-kill” in the past few years, meaning that healthy and treatable animals can stay in the shelters until they are adopted, and will not be euthanized.
The transition from euthanasia to the no-kill system has been going on for years, but the city shelters got a huge helping hand in 2009 when Barbara Carr, the Director of the SPCA Board, applied for and won a Maddie’s Grant. Erie County was only the 10th recipient of the grant, and Carr said we already had a 37% decline in euthanizations before the money came into play. The goal is to become completely no-kill, countywide, by 2014. “Compared with other communities of the same size, we’re kicking butt,” Carr said.
Last year, throughout Erie County, 100% of healthy animals that came into the shelters were adopted, and 70% of treatable animals were adopted after receiving medical attention. The Buffalo SPCA itself was even better, adopting out 96% of treatable dogs and cats last year. Carr said the grant money helps the shelters to give medical attention to “the treatables,” as she called them, and also helps expand the smaller volunteer and foster organizations that partner with the SPCA. These Good Samaritans and the members of our community are vital to the work the SPCA does.
Without a strong community behind them, Carr said, the shelters would never have been able to give homes to so many animals. Buffalo animal shelters are even taking in dogs from places like Virginia, where the overflow is so great that some of the animals would have been euthanized to make room for new ones. Carr said that this is a great sign, because the shelters will spend less money on euthanasia and be able to spend more on expanding their infrastructure so they can save more animals in the future. “This is one of those cases where good leads to good, leads to good,” Carr said.
So keep adopting, Buffalo. And keep up the good work, Erie County animal shelters!
To read more about Maddie’s Fund and Erie County’s no-kill goal, go to www.maddieseriecounty.org.