- The Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse is a 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit organization. Donations to AAGS are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Category Archives: Programs
On 3/18, the Syracuse City Common Council passed a memorializing resolution urging legislators to enact A-775/S-1776, the Consolidated Animal Crimes Bill, making Syracuse the first municipality in New York State to do so. Championed by the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse and Cuse Pit Crew, this resolution was crafted by City Clerk John Copanas, and submitted by Councilors Jean Kessner and Bob Dougherty. The resolution, which would move animal cruelty from the under the Agriculture and Markets to the Penal Code in order to promote understanding, awareness, and enforcement of animal crime laws, passed the Common Council with a unanimous vote. The meeting was attended by NY State Director of HSUS, Brian Shapiro, who made remarks before the Common Council in favor of the resolution.
This action moves Syracuse into the forefront of NYS municipalities fighting animal abuse, and we in the Animal Alliance couldn’t be prouder!
SYRACUSE—The Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse has been selected to receive a $20,000 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to purchase start-up equipment for a mobile spay/neuter clinic, which will move around to various city locations altering both dogs and cats belonging to low-income residents.
“Spay/neuter is so important,” says Linda Young, president of the Animal Alliance, “because Central New York has a huge overpopulation problem with both cats and dogs, resulting in a lot of suffering as well as a high euthanasia rate. Spay/neuter is the only solution to that.”
“Unfortunately,” she continued, “not only is Syracuse lacking in true options for pets in low-income areas, but transportation can be a problem.” ”Even if they can afford the surgery, many people can’t get their pet there, so we decided to bring the clinic to them.”
According to Young, a “perfect storm” brought this undertaking together.
“A member of our group, Dr. Jennifer Bailey, who had shared the vision for this clinic for many years, graduated from veterinary school at the same time we were approached by a private donor wanting to subsidize surgeries to make them more affordable. It became a question of ‘if not us, who; if not now, when.’”
“While we have the funding for equipment and the subsidies for surgeries, there remain many additional costs, such as medications and other supplies,” says Board member Karen Antczak. “We also anticipate hiring a part-time veterinary technician to manage the ordering of supplies, to be available for follow-up with clients, and to schedule the community veterinarians who have graciously stepped up to volunteer their time.”
The clinic is partnering with Cornell University’s Shelter Medicine Program and is expected to begin operation in April, initially working in conjunction with the Animal Welfare Coalition’s Healthy Pet Clinics.
AAGS is a 501(c)3 tax exempt charity advocating for a strengthened safety net and reduced euthanasia rates for animals in CNY. Donations are gratefully accepted at PO Box 94, Liverpool, NY 13088 or on this page via the DONATE button on the left!
The year of 2012 has been a BANNER YEAR in terms of progressing toward our goals, and we would love to share just some of the highlights!
Among the numerous objectives of AAGS is to unite groups and organizations impacting the lives of animals in CNY. Much of our work has been difficult to bring to the public’s attention simply because it has consisted of quiet foundation building. We have made strong connections with many eager to become involved, from Brian Shapiro, NYS Director of HSUS, to Mayor Stephanie Miner of Syracuse and her staff, the Syracuse Common Council, Commissioner Baye Muhammad and staff at Parks and Recreation, John Copanas and the Office of the City Clerk, as well as Father Jim Mathews and St. Lucy’s Church. This web of connections has created a “perfect storm” for a major project which we hope to launch in the inner city next spring.
Read on to learn more about that!
SAVE OUR PITTIES
A highly successful fundraiser for our program, Cuse Pit Crew, was held at Attilio’s on North Salina in January, and it was the place to be in Syracuse on a Friday night! The guests of honor included the “Pit Boss,” Shorty Rossi, and his dog Hercules. Attendees came from the Office of the Mayor, Syracuse Common Council, NYS Assembly and Senate Representatives, as well as Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, and Asst. D.A. Laura Fiorenza, along with numerous other supportive people and organizations in our community.
In September, Cuse Pit Crew launched their dog training program out of St. Lucy’s Church on the near west side. Eight dogs accompanied by about 20 humans, both adult and children, have completed the first eight-week session. Classes are expected to resume in January.
Additional activities keeping the “Crew” busy include a number of educational tabling events, providing various informational services for members of the community, as well as promoting adoptable dogs through the Cuse Pit Crew facebook site and appearances on the television show Bridge Street.
The spring found us very busy educating some Salina residents who wanted to hire a sharpshooter to dispatch a coyote seen snatching a pet cat. We assured the frightened citizen, along with the Town Board members that because it was spring, the parent coyotes were simply trying to feed their cubs and would soon move on. We urged residents to understand that the killing of the coyote was not the solution, instead stressing the importance of removing any food sources that would attract the coyotes. We engaged Wildlife Expert, Elise Able from Foxwood Wildlife Rescue in East Concord, NY, who backed us up, holding two educational sessions in Liverpool plus advocating with the Board to deny the residents’ request. Ultimately, the issue was dropped, but only after many hours spent in research and advocacy.
EDUCATION FOR US
- In June, our Board members attended a number of very informative sessions with Maria Fibiger of Three Dog Consulting for some training, sponsored by a grant from The Gifford Foundation, in just what the heck is the job of a Board and what are the duties and responsibilities of its members.
- Several of our members attended the two-day ASPCA/Maddie’s Fund Shelter Medicine Conference at Cornell in July. Topics of discussion included managing health issues in shelter and rescue settings, applying for grants, pet identification, the latest in caring for feral or community cats, pet behavior, enriching life for pets in the shelter, and much more. Of special interest to us was the segment concerning “the link” between violence toward animals and violence toward humans.
Several members met with Assistant District Attorney, Laura Fiorenza, discussing the local “disconnect” in which animal abuse cases frequently “fall through the cracks” from one agency to another. Laura suggested that relocating animal abuse from the Agriculture and Markets law, with which most police departments have little familiarity, to the Penal Code would be a constructive move. We agreed completely.
Interestingly, July then found us joining a group meeting with NYS representatives, sponsored by R-CATS of Rome, to advocate for various desperately needed legislative changes which included making precisely that move.
AAGS is very proud to announce that it is the New York State winner of the 2012 Community Impact Award given by Alley Cat Allies! This award is given with the intent of helping communities become safer places for cats. Along with the award came a grant of $1,000 that will further our mission to the benefit of the entire community. Many thanks to Alley Cat Allies!
We also met with Brian Shapiro, NYS Director of HSUS, in September and discussed the issues of violence and dog fighting in our area. Later, we gratefully received a donation from HSUS in the amount of $500 to assist in our mission!
In October, several members attended our first meeting with the Family Support Network at Huntington Family Center on Gifford Street, sharing humane education information including pet health care, spay/neuter, and trap-neuter-return (TNR) related to community cats.
Later in November, members presented the first session in a pilot program to several pre-k classes at the Huntington Family Center, talking about respect, care, and compassion for animals. We have been invited back for further sessions that will include proper etiquette when meeting a dog on a leash, and how to stay safe when encountering a dog running loose. We have also been invited to present programs for older children and after-school groups, and lesson planning is under way!
Along the way, many of our members have
volunteered at the Animal Welfare Coalition’s Healthy Pet Clinics, which conduct 6-8 clinics a year at St. Lucy’s Church on the near west side and Assumption Church on the north side of Syracuse, providing vaccinations, flea treatment, and spay-neuter counseling for pets of low-income residents.
Officer Becky Thompson was appointed as the first Animal Cruelty Investigator with the Syracuse Police Department! Although currently only part-time, this position is something the area has needed for many, many years. Given the proven connection between animal and human cruelty, Officer Thompson’s newly-created position is a positive move in the fight to end violence in our city. Dog fighting, with its relationship to drugs and gangs, serves only to harden and desensitize hearts and minds. Perpetrators of domestic violence and violence toward children and the elderly are, almost without exception, found to have begun with cruelty to animals.
In October, AAGS met with Chief Fowler to thank him, to discuss the link between violence against humans and animals, and to advocate for Officer Thompson’s new position to become full-time, noting that by doing so, the department would not be losing a road patrol officer, but rather getting two officers for the price of one! Since the creation of her new position, Officer Thompson has been deluged with cases and has made numerous arrests – arrests that we are confident will hold up in court and bring the highest level of sanctions against the perpetrators.
And now . . . . . as a supporter of AAGS, you are hearing it here first:
OUR EXCITING PLANS FOR 2013!
AAGS has partnered with the Cornell Veterinary School of Shelter Medicine, and with the help of a variety of grants as well as a generous donation from a mystery donor, we plan to launch a mobile spay-neuter clinic that will set up at various locations within the poorest neighborhoods in the area. Many pet owners in these locations lack not only the funds to alter their pets; they also lack the transportation to get them to a veterinarian’s office or stationary clinic. Our clinic will remove both barriers for those wanting to do the right thing for their pets!
This represents our most ambitious project to date, and we will require help from the community, from our supporters, from YOU. We will continue to need your financial assistance, AND we will also need volunteers to undertake all manner of tasks within the clinics. This will be a community undertaking to make this a better place for all of us to live, especially the animals, and we hope we will see many of you step up to volunteer your time!
If you are not sure what a mobile clinic looks like, you can see one in operation at the Montana Spay/Neuter Task Force. We don’t expect to have a fancy painted van like they do, but with your help, we will get the job done!
Knowing that every animal we spay or neuter means at least one less killed in local shelters has made this a long-time dream for many of us. If you would like to volunteer for this – or any of our projects – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will begin holding volunteer orientations soon!
The holidays are a time for gratitude. We want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for your help and support and share the hope that all our dreams may come true! We wish each of you the Happiest of Holidays and a New Year filled with blessings!
The Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse,
Linda, Donna, Carol, Joan, Karen, Jan, Jude, Robin, Dr. Jenn, Judith, DeeDee, Susan, Marcia, Melissa, and AnnMarie
Cuse Pit Crew,
Stefanie, Nicole, Kathy, Robin, Alexa, Lindsay, Alesha, and Dan
P.S. If you can help – even a little bit – to ensure that the coming year will be brighter for our animals, donations may be sent to us at PO Box 94, Liverpool, NY 13088 or via the DONATE button on our website at www.animalallianceofgreatersyracuse.org or our Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/AnimalAlliance.
The Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse is a 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit organization. Donations to AAGS are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
The Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse is proud to announce that it is the New York State winner of the 2012 Community Impact Award given by Alley Cat Allies! This award is given with the intent of helping communities become safe places for cats.
In the CNY area, our shelters are always full, and rescues are overwhelmed. Many pet owners without means have no alternative but to abandon their cats when they move. Since 80% of them are not altered, this means ever more cats on the streets breeding.
Experience tells us that spaying and neutering for family pets and TNR for community (feral or stray) cats are the most successful and cost effective ways to go about correcting this problem. We endeavor to carry this message wherever we go, and to arrange for low-cost surgeries as often as possible!
This grant will further this Mission to the benefit of the entire community. Many thanks to Alley Cat Allies!
- Interview Opportunity: October 16 Is National Feral Cat Day (prweb.com)
- Scientists Prove That Feral Cats Killed the Dinosaurs (thecreativecat.net)
- Free-roaming cats stir emotional debate on bird safety (usatoday.com)
Swirling like a ”perfect storm,” the elements of this project are rapidly falling into place! We have a private donor, locations, well-written grants in progress, and insurance, not to mention support from the Mayor of Syracuse and Cornell University among others!
We can’t tell you exactly what this project entails just yet, but it will tackle problems that have haunted this area for many years and will bring positive change for stray animals, pets, pet owners, neighborhoods, and the community in general.
This project will require volunteers from animals lovers in the area as well as pet owners in the neighborhoods served. Stay tuned for more information, coming soon!
Our grant meeting this week with the Community Foundation in Syracuse went well. Things are looking up for our big project which could be underway by September!
Shelters are full, rescue groups overwhelmed with calls for help. People who find strays or who have to re-home pets have no options, with animals – mostly intact – often left on the streets. Dog bites are overwhelmingly from intact dogs. Dogs are picked up at taxpayer expense, 96% of those taken in by Syracuse Animal Control are killed. Cats are left to reproduce, causing ever-growing numbers of feral cats, and affecting quality of life issues on many levels.
Almost every pet-related issue has pet overpopulation at its base.
Buffalo State College: BA Secondary Education Biology and General Science
Erie Community College South: Associates in Science Degree
Orchard Park High School class of 1980
Training and Qualifications
Town of Orchard Park Animal Control since 2010
Town of Concord Assistant Dog Control Since 2006
Completed Animal Control Seminars sponsored by Erie County SPCA
Completed the Chemical Capture and Immobilization training given by ACES
New York State Trappers Course
New York State Hunter Safety Training
New York State Pistol Permit training
Pre-vaccinated for rabies with a current titer of 4.0
20 years experience trapping, catching, assessing and handling a variety of animals including but not limited to dogs, cats, horses, pigs, goats, birds, raccoons, beaver, alligators, woodchucks, fox, coyote, mink and most other New York State species
Possess and have experience using most capture and handling equipment available including box traps, nets, catch poles, rabies gloves, etc.
Created and implemented public education and control programs for local towns on fox, skunks, bats and Eastern Coyotes
Completed all safety training to work on site at the West Valley Demonstration Project
Own and can effectively use a dart rifle
Licensing and Permits
New York State Nuisance Wildlife Control Permit
New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit Class 2 with RVS Certification
Federal Migratory Bird Rehabilitation Permit
NYS License to Collect and Possess Wildlife
USDA Class C Exhibitor Permit
NYS Hunting license
NYS Trapping License
NYS Pistol Permit
NYS Chemical Immobilization Certification
New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Council member since 1991 and seminar speaker
National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association member since 1991 and seminar speaker
International Wildlife Rehabilitation Association member since 1991 and speaker
Western New York Horse Council Member since 2006 and seminar speaker
National Great Pyrenees Rescue Founding Member
Fox Wood Wildlife Rescue, Inc President and Founder
Bat Conservation International member
Member Project Coyote
Elise Able, coyote expert, traveled 3 hours from the Buffalo area to do an hour-long presentation, “Eastern Coyote, Friend or Foe?”, at the American Legion in Liverpool Monday night prior to the Town Board meeting. It was attended by approximately 40-50 people, many of whom were already in favor of identifying non-lethal approaches to the issue of coyotes in the suburban neighborhood of Scottsdale Farms. Town Supervisor, Mark Nicotra was in attendance, and left with a good deal of scientific data to assist him in making an informed decision.
Elise’s Powerpoint presentation was highly informative, quoting such highly –respected experts as Dr. Robert L. Crabtree, President and Founder of Yellowstone Ecosystem Studies, Affiliate Faculty, Biology Department of Montana State University. A quote taken from his website at http://www.yellowstoneresearch.org/crabtree.html says, “Research yields knowledge, and knowledge allows citizens and leaders to make sensible choices.” This is precisely what we hope the information provided to Salina citizens and councilors will bring to the community – sensible choices.
Salina does not, at this point, have a coyote problem in Ms. Able’s viewpoint, but rather a people problem, being created by misinformation coupled with fear. If, however, Salina decides to allow the addressing of this issue by lethal means, they will create an extremely large problem for themselves, in her educated opinion. Even though the three or four families of Scottsdale Circle intend to pay for the sharpshooter to come to their neighborhood, thus not involving taxpayer funds, the potential for future problems may, in fact, necessitate taxpayer involvement.
According to Ms. Able, a normal coyote community consists of an alpha male and alpha female. They raise their cubs, which then “move out” and find their own mates and territory. As this alpha male and female age, they produce fewer cubs per litter, and fewer of those are strong enough to make it until winter. The problem with removal of the alpha male and/or female by any means, whether by shooting, or by trapping and moving them, or by car accident is that this then “releases” the other members of this family to begin breeding. Not only are there more of them, but they are younger, producing more offspring per litter, offspring much more apt to survive. Although counterintuitive, the scientific evidence is that removing these two alpha coyotes, will actually INCREASE the coyote population in the area.
Potential injuries to children are a great concern to the families on Scottsdale Circle. In a list of the top ten causes of such injuries, however, coyotes did not even appear. Number one on the list was dogs and number two was human beings. Also on the list were bees and car accidents. At the subsequent Board meeting, Laurie Turton said, “Everybody who is talking about this is going to have to go home at night and go to sleep knowing that if something happens to a child or adult injured or worse case, dead, they are going to have to understand that this was brought up to them, and they could have done something about it and nothing was done.” Since cars are far more likely to injure or kill a human, does logic say we should ban them? We don’t think so.
A coyote’s preferred diet is small mammals and rodents. It will eat a cat if desperate, but Elise noted that cats are “too much work.” A squirrel or raccoon is much easier to catch. Since raccoons are very high on the list for rabies – coyotes extremely rarely are rabid – the coyotes do us a service by having them for lunch. Medium and large dogs are too much of a challenge for a coyote, although a small dog might be considered prey, which is why it is recommended that they be walked on a non-retractable leash. Humans, even little ones, are NOT on the coyote menu, she emphasized.
Approximately 60 were in attendance at the Board meeting following the informational meeting. The vast majority of those were in favor of learning to coexist with the coyotes. A number of neighbors in the nearby Donlin Drive area were very distressed to learn of the plans of the Scottsdale Circle group to kill the coyotes. Not only do they enjoy the wildlife in their neighborhood, but they strongly object to the discharging of guns near their homes.
Discussion will continue on May 14 at the 6:30 Board meeting. Councilor Jim Magnarelli has proposed holding another informational meeting at the Town Hall prior to that time, in an attempt to reach a consensus.
Elise Able’s website may be found at http://foxwoodrehab.typepad.com/.
Betcha thought we were going to say “cats,” didn’t you? The cats remain an issue, but there is currently no open discussion about them due to the lawsuit filed by the Animal Alliance and several taxpayers whose cats were stolen by the Town – a mom and her kitten were killed at the CNYSPCA, another one was injured and nearly killed even though it was microchipped!
But enough about the cats. Now the Town Board has moved on to the killing of coyotes.
Three or four families have expressed concern about the coyote, which was allegedly seen by one resident grabbing and shaking a cat , so they want the Town to loosen restrictions against firearms in their area temporarily to allow Nuisance Control Agent Al LaFrance to kill it. His methodology would be to erect a tower from which to shoot the coyote after calling it with a distressed animal call. The Town Board refers to him as a “wildlife expert.”
Meanwhile, word has spread, and a REAL wildlife expert from Buffalo, with a list of credentials covering a page and a half, wants to address the Town Board. Coyote Expert and Nuisance Wildlife Control Agent Elise Able, president of Fox Wood Wildlife Rescue, contacted Supervisor Mark Nicotra, requesting approximately 15 minutes to do a presentation at the upcoming Board meeting on Monday, April 23. Given that LaFrance was allotted time well in excess of that, then was allowed to return to the podium to rebut statements of others, her request doesn’t seem unreasonable to us, but it was denied. She will be allowed only 3-5 minutes.
This Board seems to specialize in making uninformed decisions. They appear to make up their minds BEFORE the evidence is presented, then don’t want to hear any more. Is this what the taxpayers elected them to do?
Published: Sunday, April 15, 2012, 2:00 AM
By Sarah Moses / The Post-StandardThe Post-Standard
Michelle Gabel / The Post-Standard Katherine Bohn, of Mattydale, visits cats at the SPCA, which is 75 cats over capacity. They have taken in strays and feral cats. Bohn said she visits the SPCA once every three months. “I have a cat, but he’s pretty aloof, so I visit to get some cat love and to reciprocate, ” she said.
Syracuse, NY — When feral or abandoned cats move into a neighborhood, they can wreak havoc.
The cats can damage flowers, defecate in sandboxes and gardens, and leave stinky spray on porches, garages and doorways.
But Central New York homeowners often are left with no where to turn for relief.
If they call their city, village or town, they are usually told, sorry there is nothing we can do – nearly all have no laws to license or control these cats. The state also has no laws to control the feral cat population.
Some times, people are given phone numbers to a local shelter or animal rights group. But most of the time these shelters are filled beyond capacity or the group will try to help but both operate on limited resources.
“The question of how to control free roaming cat populations is controversial,” said Bruce Kornreich, Cornell University veterinarian.
This became very public recently in Salina when residents began complaining to the town’s animal control officer about feral cats damaging their property. The town is one of the only local municipalities that does have a cat control law. The law, which has been under fire since it was adopted in 2005, declares feral cat caregivers to be the feline’s owner making the caregivers financially responsible for damages.
The law also allows the town to trap cats. The law is currently the subject of a lawsuit by two residents whose cats were recently trapped and an animal rights group that claims the town’s law is unconstitutional.
Feral cat colonies develop when kittens or cats are abandoned. And the problem gets worse because the cats breed. A cat can have about three litters a year.
Kornreich said the size of the free roaming cat population in the United States is not known, but estimates are between 30 and 90 million cats.
Experts said communities tend to take three approaches to feral cats:
» Do nothing. » Trap and kill. » Trap and release. The cats are trapped, spayed or neutered and returned to the original neighborhood.
“To find solutions we all must work together,” said Donna Chambers of the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse.
The Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse, an association of local animal rescue and advocacy resources, and other cat advocacy groups are calling on the town of Salina and other municipalities to adopt the trap and release method.
“Many feral cats are cats that have been abandoned by former neighbors,” she said. “They are community cats. Nobody’s problem is actually everybody’s problem.” The town of Salina has a policy of trapping cats and taking them to SPCA.
Paul Morgan, executive director of the SPCA, said they don’t automatically kill the cats brought in by the town.
If the cats are friendly and healthy, they will be adopted out. If they are sick they will be euthanized. Morgan said he takes several feral cats to farmland in Cayuga County, where a farmer agrees to care for them.
But feral cats are rarely adopted out because have not been socialized by humans and can be aggressive.
There are limits for the SPCA and other groups to how many cats they can handle. The SPCA, for example, currently has 175 cats, about 75 over its capacity.
Animal Alliance and other animal advocates say trapping a feral cat and removing it or killing it does not solve the feral cat problem, because more cats will move into neighborhoods where feral colonies were eliminated.
“Trapping and relocating free roaming cats is not likely to have a significant effect on these populations, as they are often rapidly repopulated by migrating free roaming cats,” Kornreich said.
Michelle Gabel / The Post-StandardThe SPCA, at 4878 E. Molloy Road, is 75 cats over capacity. They have taken in strays and feral cats. The Town of Salina’s cat control law has sparked tension in the town in the last two years regarding the feral cat problem. The town is even facing a lawsuit regarding the law.
These animal rights groups want the town to adopt a method of TNR.
“Trap and release is the only proven method that provides a permanent solution,” Chambers said.
The process works by setting up traps in neighborhoods that have a feral cat population. The cats are taken by the CNY Cat Coalition, or other rescue group, to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated for rabies. The tip of the cat’s ear is clipped to show that they are part of a managed colony and the cats are returned.
For TNR to work well, a neighbor must agree to be a caregiver. The caregiver’s role is to provide shelter and food for the colony and to monitor the colony for new cats. If new cats move in they are trapped immediately. The cost of food and shelter fall on the caregivers, but the veterinary costs are often discounted by local organizations.
The cat coalition works with low-cost spay and neuter organizations and local veterinarians to provide discounted or free services. Cat Coalition President Marietta Rowe counsels CNY residents on TNR.
“We offer assistance, advice and even loan out traps,” Rowe said.
Kornreich said TNR has been shown to be a viable means of controlling the cat population. To successfully practice TNR, Kornreich suggests that individuals, organizations and local governments work together. Representatives from the SPCA, Cat Coalition and Animal Alliance agree.
“We just have to get the local governments to get on board,” Chambers said.
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