Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 31, 2012

TOP 10: New day at the SPCA (No. 2)

A year after crisis and scandal, SPCA of Niagara has made remarkable turnaround


Niagara Gazette — But perhaps no change that the new board has taken has been more profound than making the shelter a “No Kill” facility. As a result of that decision, the survival rate at the shelter today has risen to 90 percent, making it one of the highest in the nation.  

“It’s nice to tell people that I work at a place that saves animals,” Bell said.

Not only have the changes been a lot of work, they haven’t come cheap. Both Bell and Lewis have admitted the new way of doing business is significantly more expensive than the way the old board and executive director operated.

“The main hurdle we face is financial,” Bower said. “We need that public and corporate support.”

The new board treasurer, David Urban, said that despite what some members on the old board had insisted, the shelter had been “left with a financial mess.”

“I thinks it’s been our biggest struggle,” Urban said. “We struggle every week to meet our commitments.”

But that hasn’t deterred either the new board or Lewis and Bell.

“Sometimes the challenges seem overwhelming,” Madigan said. “ But your love for the animals carries you through it.”

In efforts to win back the community’s trust, the organization has conducted free vaccination clinics in the Falls. It’s held a series of creative fundraisers on the grounds of the shelter to left the public see the changes that have taken place.

Even the group’s finances are now posted on the shelter’s website.

“We need continuing donations and we need corporate support,” Urban said. “We are not going back to the old days, but it’s taken time and a lot of money (to re-make the shelter).”

And more money will be needed in the future. The shelter’s capital improvement needs are many.

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