SPCA of Niagara Critics Call for Impartial Investigation

January 10, 2012 Updated Jan 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM EDT

By John Borsa

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January 10, 2012 Updated Jan 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM EDT

WHEATFIELD, NY (WKBW) - Even the Wheatfield Town Supervisor has his doubts.

"There are apparent connections between Barbara Carr and the Niagara County SPCA that bring her impartiality into question," Robert Cliffe said at the beginning of Monday Night's town board meeting.

Carr, the executive director of the SPCA Serving Erie County, has been asked to investigate the claims of animal mistreatment and mismanagement at the SPCA of Niagara.

The president of the Erie County SPCA is Larry Robb while the president of the Niagara County SPCA is Brandy Scrufari. Both men work together at a local radio station group.

Carr told Eyewitness News last week that the connection will not have an impact on her investigation.

"My board president is probably the most honest person I've ever met in my life," she said.

But Cliffe's concerns were echoed by animal rights activists who want the Town of Wheatfield to arrange what they call a true third-party probe.

The SPCA of Niagara announced on Monday that a second investigation will be conducted at its request by prominent Buffalo attorney Paul Cambria.

Cambria said his review will be an "objective look at exactly what's going on there."

Cambria said he is being paid by the Niagara County SPCA.

Morgan Dunbar of Animal Allies of Western New York said if Cambria is being paid by the subject of his probe, then his investigation cannot be impartial or independent.

"My concern is he's been hired by the Niagara County SPCA," she said. "Then how is that an independent investigation?"

Both Cambria and Carr said their final reports will be made available to the public and only accepted the SPCA of Niagara's requests to investigate on the condition that they could release their findings to residents and the news media.