Tonawanda News

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May 22, 2013

18 months later, improvement noted at SPCA

Tonawanda News — WHEATFIELD — The last time Erie County SPCA Executive Director Barbara Carr faced cameras and microphones at the SPCA of Niagara, she was wiping tears from her eyes.

On Wednesday, she was smiling broadly.

"This organization, in no way, resembles the organization I looked at in January 2012," Carr said of the local shelter. 

Called in to review the shelter's operations in the wake of a Greater Niagara Newspaper investigation that revealed the routine killing of dogs and cats and a pervasive failure to provide necessary medical care to animals left at its shelter among other equally severe problems, Carr delivered a stinging indictment of the SPCA of Niagara's Board of Directors and its executive director.

Carr labeled the Lockport Road shelter “dysfunctional" and said it engaged in "awful ... excruciatingly painful” methods of euthanizing animals.

She said she had not been back to the shelter until she was invited by the new SPCA board to conduct a follow-up review of its operations. Her original report in the shelter was 115 pages long and took three weeks to investigate and prepare.

Carr's report of an April 4 inspection of the facility was just three pages.

"I didn't do a 'turn everything over' (inspection) on this shelter visit," Carr said. "I didn't have to."

Carr said records that had been incomplete or lacking a year earlier were now easily accessed and up to date. She said major issues concerning medical practices at the shelter "have all been remedied."

Asked by reporters to pinpoint the reason for the turn around, Carr gave the credit to current shelter Director Amy Lewis.

"The major difference (from last year) is Amy," Carr said. "She knows what she's doing. She understands how to care for animals and how to ask for help if she needs it."

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