SPCA officials: About a fifth short of goal for new center
The Erie County SPCA is seeking gifts to help reach a $15 million goal to build a larger center in West Seneca, one about twice the size of their current facility in the Town of Tonawanda. On Friday, while giving Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul a tour of their Ensminger Road facility, SPCA officials revealed they were about "eight-tenths" of the way toward reaching that goal.
Officials hope to break ground on the new West Seneca location in about a month. Executive Director Barbara Carr hoped that the new facility would be ready to go "about this time next year."
"We're still looking for gifts," Carr said. "Right now I have a challenge grant of a million dollars, so every dime I raise right now is going to be met, dollar for dollar, to a million dollars. If we get all that money in, we should be in really good shape."
The new West Seneca location will include about 50,000 square feet for the new animal shelter and additional space for medical services. Carr says the SPCA is taking on more sick animals and wildlife, creating the need for more medical work space.
SPCA staff did not directly ask Lt. Governor Hochul for state funds during her tour late last week. Carr, who told WBFO such requests over the past handful of years have been unsuccessful, says the purpose of the tour was not to make a formal ask but rather to show Hochul firsthand the environment in which they work, tight spaces and all.
Besides befriending some of the dogs and cats under the facility's care, Hochul was surprised to see staff and volunteers treating an injured year-old owl and sheltering reptiles including a six-foot albino boa constrictor.
She shared the sentiment by SPCA staff that the organization's mission is touching not only the lives of animals but also those of many people.
"What they do for veterans, what they do for children of the East Side of Buffalo, getting kids here hands-on to learn skills for taking care of an animal," Hochul said. "I just wanted to get firsthand experience and see what they do here and get an appreciation for it, but also call on the community to support them as well."
Hochul was provided a copy of sketches for the West Seneca facility at the end of the tour.