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SPCA moving into new $15M West Seneca home

The SPCA Serving Erie County  is closed this week, as the organization moves from its 55-year-old home in the Town of Tonawanda to a $15 million new home on Harlem Road in West Seneca. The new facility will have better quarters for domestic animals and ailing wild animals.

Moving is underway, with the only adoptions this week at off-site locations. President and CEO Gary Willoughby says the public has been supportive with a large number of adoptions recently, as the word spread of the need to find new homes for as many animals as possible in anticipation of the move.

Willoughby says a lot of the move involves back-office material.

"Most of it's kind of the boring stuff. It's getting offices set up and getting certainly a lot of things like the Veterinary Department, getting that up as soon as possible so we can start doing spay-neuter again," he says. "We're low on animals now. We want to bring them in as quick as possible, but we have to be able to perform spay-neuter surgeries and do dentals and all that kind of stuff. So priority is getting ready so we can house new animals as they come in."

The small animals are being moved and farm animals will also be traveling from Tonawanda to West Seneca as animal care staff can arrange it. Willoughby says it was just time to replace the old facility.

"It served so well for so many years, but it long since should have been retired," he says. "So just having double the square footage we have now is huge. Better areas to isolate and ventilate. The ventilation is so much better. Our new Lipsey Clinic that we're going to have, as well, is going to allow us to help people who are in danger of having to surrender their pets."

In the new facility, the cats will be allowed to occupy large rooms together, something Willoughby says the public wanted. He says the new facility also will have much better facilities for wild animals, with outdoor caged areas for birds to fly.

"Our wildlife area was so undersized in our current facility that we can actually do our job properly now," Willoughby says. "That's one of the biggest dramatic increases in space, is what we're allowed. They carved out a little piece of the garage for wildlife and it was really, really tough. Now we have  beautiful rooms that you can keep different species apart from each other. We have bird flight cages outside."

A grand opening is planned for May 13.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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