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March 7, 2012

Tucker: Let's pay SPCA

LOCKPORT — Mayor Michael Tucker is inclined to release the city’s past-due payments to SPCA of Niagara, he said Tuesday.

If Common Council members agree, Tucker said he’ll direct the city clerk’s office to send roughly $3,600 to SPCA for contractual services in January and February. Tucker ordered the monthly payments held back while the SPCA board of directors came to grips with the shelter mismanagement scandal that broke in late December.

Amid allegations its veterinary staff had euthanized hundreds of stray dogs and cats last fall, the SPCA board recently fired shelter director John Faso and appointed Amy Lewis as interim director. Lewis previously worked for the well respected Erie County SPCA, which is transitioning to no-kill handling of stray animals.

Tucker said the steps that the SPCA board has taken in the past month or so, including hiring Lewis, having attorney Paul Cambria rewrite its bylaws and calling for election of a new board in May, put it on the path to reform — which was the city’s intent in withholding the payments.

“They’re making positive changes and that’s what we wanted to see,” Tucker said. “If the aldermen are comfortable (releasing the money) now, we’ll do it.”

Under contract, SPCA of Niagara provides dog sheltering services for the city.

The Town of Lockport, which also contracts with SPCA, is releasing its past-due payments as well, Supervisor Marc Smith said this week.

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