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Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012County: Wyoming
Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony Non-CTA
» Susan J. Davila
» Janet M. Foisset
Case Updates: 3 update(s) available
The New York State Police held a press conference today to give details as to why they're investigating the Wyoming County SPCA on animal cruelty allegations.
Troopers executed search warrants Wednesday as a result of animal cruelty allegations at the Wyoming County SPCA in Attica, as well as the Wyoming County SPCA Adoption Center located at the Eastern Hills Mall.
Troopers say they received complaints of animal cruelty and deplorable conditions within the past two weeks. State Police say their investigation isn't limited to just that. At this time, they're not saying where the allegations came from.
Former Volunteer Chris Wiehe told 2 On Your Side she and other former volunteers called authorities for what she called "hoarding" at the shelter, in addition to accusations of mistreatment of animals and misuse of money.
"Finally we got somebody to listen," Wiehe said. "And hopefully we can become again involved with this organization and make it something wonderful."
Current volunteers, including Sharon Gebel, countered Wiehe's claims, saying the animals were well taken care of and that the overcrowding was the result of a lack of adoptions and fundraising.
"I agree it wasn't the best conditions, you know, but there's so many cats," Gebel said. "It's hard because the adoptions around here, nobody wants to adopt. All they want to do is drop them off, go by and drop them off in boxes."
It's still unknown exactly how many animals are affected and what their conditions are. State Police said examining the animals could last into Thursday.
The Wyoming County District Attorney's office and Erie County SPCA is assisting in the investigation.
The Wyoming County SPCA is a non-profit, no-kill facility.
Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R,C,I - 59th District) released this statement today:
As details continue to become known about today's (Wednesday's) investigation into the Wyoming County SPCA in Attica and Wyoming SPCA Adoption Center in Clarence, I hope a pattern of mistreatment is not emerging among the SPCA centers of Western New York.
When considering the recent problems that have arisen at area SPCA's, one thing is clear, New York State needs a comprehensive review of its animal shelter and adoption policies, beginning with the enactment of a new rescue access law to ensure as many animals as possible are saved and eventually placed in permanent homes. As more information becomes available, I will be addressing this matter with my fellow members of the Senate Agriculture Committee and amongst the entire Senate.
|Susan Davila, the former Wyoming County SPCA shelter manager who was facing criminal charges, died Saturday.|
About 1:30 p.m., police in Attica, Wyoming County, were called to Davila's home at 74 Exchange St. by a family member, and she was taken to Wyoming County Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead, according to Attica Police.
"We believe it was an overdose on her prescription medications but the investigation is still ongoing. We do not see any foul play at this time," Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O'Geen said in an email message.
The Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office is working to determine a cause of death.
In February, the State Police raided the Wyoming County SPCA shelter in Attica and another one the organization operated in Erie County. The found unhealthy, overcrowded conditions, including more than 500 cats that were seized.
Davila was charged with one count of tampering with physical evidence and 20 counts of animal cruelty. Former board president Janet Foissett is charged with tampering with evidence.
|Source: WGRZ - July 9, 2012|
Update posted on Jul 10, 2012 - 2:05AM
|New York State Police charged two women on May 9 in connection with an investigation of problems at the Wyoming County SPCA shelter in Attica.|
Susan J. Davila, 57, of Attica, Wyoming County, the shelter manager, was charged with one count of tampering with physical evidence and 20 counts of animal cruelty.
Janet M. Foisset, 69, of Buffalo, N.Y., the president of the Wyoming County SPCA board, is charged with one count of tampering with physical evidence.
In January, State Police received a number of complaints about conditions at the shelter. In February, the Attica shelter and an adoption center at the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, Erie County, were searched and 515 cats and three dogs were found.
The evidence tampering charges stem from the Wyoming County SPCA hiding about 200 cats from an ongoing investigation by the SPCA serving Erie County. That investigation started in June 2011 and involved an Erie County woman. When SPCA investigators visited the woman's home the cats were gone. They had been taken to the Wyoming County SPCA's building, where they were kept in the basement until about January, State Police said.
The animal cruelty charges relate to overcrowded and unsanitary conditions and for failing to provide adequate veterinary care.
Both women are scheduled to appear in Attica Town Court on May 24.
|Source: Democrat & Chronicle|
Update posted on May 11, 2012 - 12:05PM
|Several of the cats at the Wyoming County SPCA and its satellite adoption center at the Eastern Hills Mall are being transferred to other facilities while the New York State Police and the Wyoming County District Attorney's office continuing to investigate allegations of animal cruelty at the Wyoming County SPCA.|
Working in conjunction with the Erie County SPCA, Troopers executed search warrants Wednesday as a result of animal cruelty allegations at the Wyoming County SPCA in Attica, as well as the Wyoming County SPCA Adoption Center located at the Eastern Hills Mall. As a second day of removing and screening animals began, other agencies had arrived to help out at the SPCA shelter on Route 98 in town of Attica, a shelter roughly the size of a conventional ranch style home. Erie County SPCA spokesperson Gina Browning says rescue groups are coming from as far away as Albany to help out.
The Humane Society of Greater Rochester opened its Lollypop Farm facility in Perinton to 32 of the cats seized, and the Rochester organization sent a team of five employees and volunteers to help perform veterinary checks, clean, feed and process the seized animals.
The Second Chances Sheltering Network rescued a total of 30 cats from the Eastern Hills Mall location. The organization was the first to assist at the scene. The group says that none of the cats had proper paperwork and all needed shots. The cats were taken to the Honey Hill Pet Center inside the Eastern Hills Mall, and the McClelland Small Animal Hospital on Ellicott Street in Buffalo.
Ten from the adoption center at the Eastern Hills Mall have been taken to the Buffalo Animal Shelter.
Heart Animal Rescue and Adoption Team, Inc. has six of the cats from the Eastern Hills site. They are available for adoption at their adoption site at 48 Buffalo Street in Hamburg.
Ten Lives Club has close to 50 cats from both the Attica shelter and the Eastern Hills Mall satellite site. Marie Edwards with Ten Lives says none of the cats have files or collars, so all must be checked out by vets before they can be adopted out. Wyoming County SPCA cats that are available for adoption are being housed at the Ten Lives location in the McKinley Mall. They also have some cats available for adoption at their shelter in Hamburg. Appointments are requested for shelter adoptions.
The SPCA servicing Erie County is not doing individual adoptions at this time, but they are still looking for groups that can take multiple cats. If you are part of such a group, contact them at 629-3505.
State Police say they received a complaint on January 24 that there were hundreds of cats at the Attica facility not being properly cared for, that the cats had not been checked by a veterinarian, that medications were illegally obtained and grant money received by the facility was not being used for its intended purpose.
Erie County SPCA spokesperson Gina Browning says the conditions at the Attica facility were "horrific". She said some cats were in cages, some were in cabinets, some were in the wall, but that most were roaming free.
Officials say there were nearly 400 cats at both facilities that they checked out. Six had to be euthanized for medical reasons.
"This is not a bad place. It's lack of money and lack of people," said Candie McConnell, who was a member of the Wyoming County SPCA board up until a few weeks ago, when she left for reasons she wouldn't specify.
Contrary to how authorities are now characterizing the shelter, McConnell insisted the animals were well cared for and the few volunteers they had would clean it every day.
"I'm afraid we're going to lose it all together and we don't want that to happen," McConnell told WGRZ, as her voice cracked with emotion.
In the meantime, Browning says they're contacting other shelters throughout upstate new York to place as many of the cats as possible..but it can't be done right away.
"We don't have a handle on how many of these cats might have contagious illnesses. The least safe thing we can do is move them to another facility where they could infect another shelter full of cats," Browning said.
Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O'Geen says he will seek a forensic audit of the Wyoming County facility to determine how the grant money was used. Police also seized medications from the Attica facility and will investigate how they were obtained and used.
The facilities are closed while officials continue their investigation.
|Source: wgrz.com - Feb 18, 2012|
Update posted on Feb 19, 2012 - 2:22PM
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