NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Three board members, an executive director and a vet tech - all once connected to the Niagara SPCA - are stepping forward with allegations of mismanagement and animal neglect at the Town of Niagara shelter.
In all, at least seven board members have resigned since September 2018, claiming they can no longer be connected to the organization.
"It's very sad because I can't sleep at night knowing these animals are out there, that they're suffering," said former board member Kathy Paradowski, who blew the whistle on the shelter in 2012, when staff were accused of euthanizing hundreds of animals in a matter of months.
Now, after a complete overhaul, former board members say history is repeating itself.
Emails and documents obtained by 7 Eyewitness news outline a number of cases of poor animal care, including a picture of a kennel with a note "not nice," referring to a dog.
In one case, according to documents, a cat went untreated for four months with painful mouth and dental issues. SPCA volunteers finally pooled their own money to take the cat for help at a local vet.
In a separate case, board members and volunteers say a cat's eye infection went untreated for so long, the eye needed to be removed.
Current executive director Tim Brennan responded to that case Monday afternoon.
"Out of those 782 kittens that we took in, we only did 13 eye neucleations," Brennan told 7 Eyewitness News. "Now I don't want to say only and I don't want to minize that number because obviously we don't do it if we have to but that's less than two percent."
Brennan also said not all staff were aware of the euthanasia policy at the facility.
"The issue that we have not been able to determine because it happened prior to my starting as the new executive director is whether or not the staff at the SPCA was adequately notified of the new policy. Not one of them recall having that discussion with the old executive director."
The Niagara SPCA released a statement after allegations of neglect and mismanagement were first published by the Niagara Gazette.
"The Niagara SPCA was notified last week that three of its board members were resigning. This is certainly unfortunate, and we thank them for their service over the years.
During this transition period, know that our current board and SPCA staff remain united around a common goal – to provide love, care, shelter and advocacy for the animals in our community.
Over the next few months, the organization will work towards adding collaborative members to the board, enhancing policies proposed by a newly formed quality assurance committee to continue to ensure animals are taken care of properly and educate and advocate for animal rights.
We encourage those who would like to help our shelter animals to come in and fill out an application to volunteer. It will not only make a difference in their lives, but yours as well."