by Susan Mikula Campbell
It wasn't a perfect report, but it was vastly different than the one the Niagara County SPCA got in January 2012 from Barbara Carr.
Carr, executive director of the SPCA Serving Erie County, was part of a press conference held Wednesday in front of the Lockport Road facility in Wheatfield.
On April 4 this year, she accepted the invitation of the Niagara County SPCA to visit and assess the changes made since her last report.
Her new report ends with "Overall, I found the NCSPCA to be well run, despite limited resources at its disposal. The staff, the volunteers and the board should take tremendous pride in what they have accomplished."
Flanked by several members of the board, including Bryan Barish, board president, and Amy Lewis, shelter director, Carr said, "This organization in no way resembles the organization I looked at in January 2012."
From the entirely new board of directors to freshly painted walls to the hiring of Lewis, who previously worked at her Erie County facility, Carr said her second visit was "delightful."
Her short report did list a few areas needing improvement or change. One of these was funding from the community to support the shelter.
"If they want a great SPCA, they've got to step up to the plate, the same as the citizens of Erie County do," Carr said, noting that per capita in Niagara County donations are only 35 percent of what they are in Erie County.
Lewis said the Niagara County SPCA is still years behind with many needs, including more medical staff and more kennel staff, as well as more community outreach programs. She said she is working on acquiring a surgical trailer for the facility.
Barish said his board is in the process of creating a long-term strategic plan for the Niagara County SPCA, and once that is done, the search for an executive director will be underway.
Board elections will be held May 29, he said. Biographies of candidates will be posted on the SPCA's website at www.niagaraspca.org.