Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 25, 2012

The Living Dead

Niagara Gazette — WHEATFIELD -- Beware Lockport Road on Saturday.

What you'll see will be creepy, crawly and just downright scary.

But, it will also be a whole lot of fun for kids and adults and is shaping up as the biggest fundraising event of the year for the newly revitalized SPCA of Niagara.

The first annual Niagara SPCA Zombie Fest is set for 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the organization's shelter and surrounding grounds and is offering up a host of Halloween-themed events.

"It was (SPCA Board of Directors Vice Chair) Dave Bowers' idea and the more the board thought about it, the more they thought it could be an incredibly fun event," SPCA Executive Director Andrew Bell said. "And it's grown incredibly since then."

For the kids, there will be a bounce house, a maze and a costume parade. For the entire family there's hayrides, a barn and a costume contest featuring pets.

"They can expect the best haunted hayride in the area," Bell said, "And the haunted barn will have amazing effects and live actors."

Bell said folks will be able to compete to see who has the scariest scream and for those who might be hungry, there'll be the spiciest chili cook-off and something called a Brain Eating Contest.

"We're hoping it will be our biggest event to date," Bell said. "Since we've become a No Kill shelter our veterinary expenses have gone up significantly."

The shelter was rocked by reports of mismanagement and animal maltreatment contained in a Gazette investigation that broke on New Year's Day. The Gazette storlies led to the firing of the then shelter Executive Director John Faso and a review of operations there by Erie County SPCA Executive Director Barbara Carr.

In a scathing, 115-page review, Carr called the operation of the Lockport Road shelter “chaotic” and “dysfunctional” and said many of the practices there were “totally improper,” “awful” and “excruciatingly painful” to some of the animals in its care.

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