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New programs created to give animals "a day off" amid animal shelter overflow

WNY animals shelters are overflowing with animals.
Senior dog, Lloyd, housed at the Niagara County SPCA.jpg
Posted at 5:48 PM, Jul 19, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. WKBW) — A 12-year-old, housed at the Niagara SPCA, is in his last stages of life.

The dog, whose name is Lloyd, came as a stray to the animal shelter, but now, his story has inspired the animal shelter to launch a new program.

This comes at a time when animal shelters across Western New York are dealing with an influx in animal surrenders and animal abuse.

The Niagara SPCA is not sure if one of its newest members in their kennels has three weeks left or three months.

Lloyd has garnered a lot of attention, near and far, thanks to a Facebook post, posted by the shelter.

PREVIOUS STORY: Niagara SPCA looking for fosters to make final days of dog's life 'the best he's ever had'

"Right now, he's just in hospice care. There is not a lot that can be done medically. He is in end-stage kidney failure. He also has a very large tumor that we believe to be is cancerous," Niagara SPCA executive director and chief administrative officer, Amy Lewis told Pheben Kassahun Tuesday afternoon.

The shelter has found his owner and are trying to figure out Lloyd's back story, according to Lewis. She said a lot of shelters would consider Lloyd to be a euthanasia candidate because he is essentially "terminal."

However, the shelter will not do such a thing and are now calling on the community to take Lloyd on a trek of a lifetime, through a program called "Make A Dog's Day." The program is new, so it may receive a name change in the future.

"We want to make sure that his last day, however long it may be. It could be three weeks, it could be three months, it could be seven months. We don't know, but we are committed to making sure that his last days are really great," Lewis explained. The shelter has received donations from as far as Boston and Portugal. Purina, an animal food company, has also reached out.

"He's still got life to him. He is happy. He still seeks out food and seeks out attention. The reason why we did this is because he is a dog that has really kind of touched everyone here," Lewis said.

The shelter suspects, had he received medical care sooner, his quality of life would have been a bit better.

"He's really kind of an inspiration and he'll help a lot of animals, I believe," Lewis said.

Lloyd's story is just the tip of the iceberg for the Niagara SPCA. The animal shelter is at capacity, to the point where recovery kennels meant for animals recovering from surgery or injuries, are now housing animals.

Animal cruelty cases are also increasing on a weekly basis.

"For the past three and a half or so months, we have been consistently at capacity," Lewis said.

The shelter has 62 dogs in house, 106 cats, 30 rabbits and 172 animals in foster care. The shelter investigates about 8-10 cruelty complaints per week.

In Erie County, the SPCA Serving Erie County is over capacity by about 15%. Every cage is full with over 280 animals. There are also 128 open cases of animal cruelty or eviction.

"We're seeing evictions. We are seeing six animals a week from evictions alone. We are seeing not enough time because people are getting second and third jobs. We are seeing homelessness a lot and it's really, really heartbreaking," SPCA Serving Erie County, Cait Daly said. "Every single kennel is full, and every single one of those animals is one of these dire-need animals.

Additionally, summers are usually slow for adoptions because people usually travel during the summer months, so its not abnormal to see adoptions slowed down, but it is abnormal to see how full the SPCA is with injured animals.

Daly said, "We have started the 'Summer of Love', which is a reduced adoption fee program. It's available for almost every animal in our shelter."

The shelter has also created a similar "doggy-day-off" program called "Doggy Entourage" to help make a dog's day.

Daly said, "where people can take a dog out for a day, and just sort of give them visibility."

Ten Lives Club is also experiencing this trend of very crowded shelters this summer.

In a statement issued to 7 News, the cat adoption group stated, "We are currently in kitten season, meaning there is a huge influx of mama cats, pregnant moms and kittens of all ages coming into the shelter."