Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

July 19, 2013

OUR VIEW: Time to pay the piper

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — When new people took over the Niagara County SPCA in the wake of a euthanasia scandal, they listened to the public’s demands: There was a call for better service and a move to a “no-kill” facility. After listening, the SPCA delivered, but now it seems that those who called for action aren’t putting their money where their mouths are.

One year after the new era began, Barbara Carr from the Erie County SPCA — who issued a stinging indictment on the Niagara organization in April 2012 — declared that the shelter is “well run” with “happy, healthy animals.”

The SPCA is now coming forward with hat in hand asking for support to meet the financial demands that have been placed upon the shelter. They’ve been not been adequately reimbursed by local governments for years and now the SPCA has the numbers that show the true cost for running the facility.

While it has improved its reputation, the Niagara SPCA is still reeling from a dearth of donations. Faithful donors left the SPCA in droves after the scandal, and many haven’t returned. In addition, many municipalities last year demanded more accountability and threatened to withhold funding.

Now, it seems, no one wants to follow through after their demands were met.

People asked for no-kill. They got their wish, but they’re not forking over the needed cash that helps keep the animals alive. Didn’t those in the public who made this demand realize that no-kill adds considerable expenses? We have a question for those people: Are you saying that it’s not worth the no-kill status? Because it sure seems to us that’s what the public is saying.

Municipalities asked for more accountability. They seem to have gotten it, but Niagara Falls is balking at the financial support the SPCA is asking. That’s ironic, since Niagara Falls threatened to pull out its funding unless the SPCA went to no-kill. And, the city’s finally getting its casino windfall.

Town of Lockport Supervisor Marc Smith was satisfied with the financial breakdown provided to him, and he’s recommending that the town council meet the SPCA’s request. Apparently, Niagara Falls is looking to have its cake and eat it.

The SPCA has gotten its house in order. It’s delivered on the public’s demands. Now it’s up to the public — and the municipalities — to pay up or admit that what they’ve asked of the SPCA is unfeasible.