Niagara County SPCA At Overcapacity

September 26, 2012 Updated Sep 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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September 26, 2012 Updated Sep 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM EDT

Niagara Co., NY (WKBW) - An overhaul leaves the Niagara County SPCA facing a double edge sword.

It's at overcapacity with the number of dogs and cats it has.

This comes just months after the public learned that the shelter was killing many of its animals that could have been put up for adoption.

With a new board and administration, the shelter is now keeping as many animals alive as possible, and even strives to become a no-kill shelter.

The shelter keeps 85-percent of its animals alive. Shelters are considered no-kill at 90-percent, so the organization hopes to have the classification soon.

However, because less animals are being euthanized, it faces the new challenge of overcrowding.

Every crate at the SPCA in Niagara County is full. Overrun with cats, crates are even set-up in the lobby.

Director Amy Lewis tells Eyewitness News "With the sheer number of animals in the facility, we only have the capacity for a certain number. As we continue to save more lives and treat more animals, those numbers are going to increase."

She explains "Where as a year or two ago they were running at one-quarter capacity, now we're running at over capacity."

As of Wednesday morning, the shelter has 47 dogs ready for adoption, which is 10 overcapacity.

Lewis says staff and volunteers are still maintaining all of the animals quality of life. They have enough food and water and are not being jammed into cages together.

The shelter also has 53 cats set for a permanent home.

Even with its new policies, the SPCA in Niagara County is still taking hits.

Lewis explains "We definitely took a hit as far as our reputation goes, and a lot of the donors when all of this transpired, were really hesitant to continue to donate to the shelter."

Making matters worse, now is when donations are really needed. It's the end of cat-breeding season -- kittens are coming to the shelter in droves.

In addition, as word spreads of its no-kill mission, more calls are coming into the shelter about strays and hoarders overrun with animals.

The SPCA is receiving so many cats, there is a two to three month waiting list for those waiting to turn a cat in.

The SPCA is trying to reach out to the community. Lewis says they have "new foster care programs, adoption programs and making it easier to get their animals back."

The shelter has had several successful pet adoption events. However, it still needs more people to come into the shelter and give the pets a forever home.