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No Kill Buffalo-Niagara homepage

No Kill Buffalo-Niagara
"Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. [We] can be that great generation." — Nelson Mandela


This website was designed and is maintained by volunteers of No Kill Buffalo-Niagara.

Niagara County SPCA

How are our local shelters doing?

NCSPCA — Niagara County SPCA

Last released statistics (August 2013) and monthly raw live save rate:

  • 96.8% dogs
  • 80.5% cats — Failed to reach 90% No Kill benchmark
  • 87.9% overall — Just fell short of 90% No Kill benchmark

* * * ALERT * * *

There is serious concern that after a period of excellent progress on the No Kill front, Niagara County SPCA may be backsliding in its commitment to the No Kill model. They have "blamed" No Kill for their financial woes (rather than their past history of killing and the distrust it has engendered). Their director, Amy Lewis, comes from a shelter (Erie County SPCA) known for killing a third of all the dogs and cats that enter its doors alive. Shelter director Amy Lewis has now taken to bashing No Kill, and pointing to the standard excuse of pet overpopulation:

Amy Lewis

Although Amy Lewis points to spay/neuter as the way to becoming No Kill, Dr. Ellen Jefferson, DVM, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive, speaks from personal experience. Here is what she had to say in an article via the Maddie's Foundation in March 2012:

    As a result of wanting to make a bigger difference with my vet degree, I founded a low-cost and free spay/neuter clinic, Emancipet, in 1999. The thought was to decrease the number animals entering the shelter through fewer births in the community so fewer would have to be euthanized in the shelter for lack of space.
    By 2008 and after over 60,000 spay/neuter surgeries, I had expected to see a bigger reduction in city shelter intake numbers. Although there was an initial decrease in euthanasia from 85% to 50% between 1999 and 2001, after 2001 the AAC (the only open admission shelter in Austin, Texas) consistently took in over 23,000 animals and euthanized an average of 50 - 55% of the animals admitted each year. In fact, AAC euthanized over 14,000 animals in 2007, which was a decade record and showed me that my efforts were not decreasing shelter intake or euthanasia like I had hoped.
    Dr. Jefferson's full article can be seen online.

Don't get us wrong. Low-cost, high-volume spay/neuter is an important component of the No Kill Equation. But it is not sufficient. Shelter directors need to address many aspects of shelter operation, including keeping animals in their homes, caring for them and rehabilitating them while in the shelter, and moving out as many as possible into adoptive homes — even those animals that may be older or have special needs.

Shelter directors need not even be particularly innovative these days, because the innovations have already been established — by people like:

  • Ellen Jefferson, DVM, of Austin Pets Alive: parvo, ringworm, bottle babies, fostering, and adopting out animals with medical needs;
  • Bonney Brown, formerly of Nevada Humane Society: marketing, promotion, adoptions, and customer service;
  • Mitch Schneider, formerly of Washoe County Animal Services: Animal Control operations and proactive redemptions in the field;
  • Aimee Sadler, from Southampton Animal Shelter: doggie playgroups and the Playing for Life program; and
  • and Community Cat / TNVR groups, including our own Community Cats Alive, who have demonstrated the effectiveness of intensive, targeted Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) of free-roaming cats in our communities.

Note to Amy Lewis: A single weekend of no-cost spay/neuter does not a program make. That spay/neuter unit must operate at least 5 and preferably 7 days a week. No more excuses. Get on with the job of saving lives and engaging the community to help.

Postscript: Where is New Hampshire and Peter Marsh's focus on spay/neuter to achieve No Kill? Well, strangely, New Hampshire has no statistics posted online to document their No Kill status. The state isn't listed even once on Out the Front Door as having any shelter that has achieved No Kill status. A final look on the Maddie's Foundation site in the Community Statistics Database shows no option to pull up New Hampshire's statistics. If this is a matter of "Replacing Myth with Math," then we would like to see some math.

See summary table here (coming soon)

Download original annual statistical reports: