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FEB 03 - FEB 10, 2015

Pit Bulls - Not Other Breeds - Are Causing The Serious Dog Problem in Niagara Falls

By Jonathan Macready

February 03, 2015

Exactly what's so humane about keeping a dog in a cage for life at a no-kill shelter?

There is a problem.

Aggressive pit bulls from Niagara Falls are filling up about 90 percent of available cages at the Niagara County SPCA.

Currently, the SPCA has 85 dogs. The shelter has permanent kennels to house 74.

Currently, the shelter is made up of 90 percent pit bulls. Almost all of them came from Niagara Falls.

Soon the SPCA may not be able to take more pit bulls from Niagara Falls because the SPCA is now a "no kill" shelter.

Before the SPCA could handle the dregs of Niagara Falls’ society’s abandoned pit bulls. They euthanized pit bulls they could not adopt.

As a result of being no kill, the Niagara SPCA now keeps dogs who are unadoptable in small cages until they die. You might call it slow-kill.

Meantime, Niagara Falls has too many unadoptable pit bulls that today or tomorrow will be abandoned and left on the streets.

And no one will ever want them.

Niagara Falls is solely responsible for creating overcrowding at the SPCA - caused by pit bulls and their reckless owners.

"Certainly, there is an overabundance of pit bulls here in Niagara Falls," SPCA director Amy Lewis said. "Irresponsible breeding plays a major part… It is no secret that the Niagara

County SPCA has an abundance of pit bull type dogs."

It’s a catch 22.

The most troublesome breed ends up creating more trouble by taking all the cages at the shelter and because it's a troublesome dog, often poorly handled, often poorly bred and poorly treated, often nasty by nature, people don't want to adopt them.

The SPCA, now a no kill shelter, fills up with pit bulls - and not the best treated or best bred pit bulls - from the criminal and irresponsible elements in Niagara Falls.

The solution, according to Mayor Paul Dyster, is to take taxpayer money to build a shelter for, essentially, pit bulls in Niagara Falls.

A slow kill shelter for pit bulls where they go and live until they die.

In a cage.

Not poodles or pugs, dachshunds or wiener dogs, or retrievers.

The proposed shelter is for the troublesome dog, caused by the troublesome dog owners.

In defense of the pit bull, people bred them, people abuse them, and people are screwing them up. Now the taxpayers are going to be forced to live with their errata and their carelessness.

Mayor Dyster set aside $3.2 million of casino money over two years to build his pit bull shelter. Depending on how it is managed, it may cost another million a year to maintain.

Because we don't euthanize dangerous dogs, dogs that belonged to drug dealers, irresponsible people, knuckle heads, pit bulls will be left in small cages the rest of their lives, and taxpayers will pay to feed them, give them veterinary care and pay for heat and food and lights and someone to clean up after them.

Until they die.

Since at least 2013, the SPCA has been considering terminating services to the city because of the cost of caring for unwanted pit bulls. From 2013 to 2104, the SPCA raised the price they charge the city from $84,000 to $195,000 for services- mainly to house pit bulls.

At $195,000, the SPCA is subsidizing Niagara Falls' pit bull problem.

No-kill shelters are expensive to operate. The SPCA said its actual cost for providing services was $230,000 in 2012.

During 2012, the SPCA handled 899 calls from the city, 68 percent of which were for stray animals.

Sixty percent of these were pit bulls.

The SPCA serves Lockport, Niagara, Wheatfield, Pendleton, Cambria and Niagara Falls. When stranded dogs and cats are found on the streets, they're brought to the SPCA.

The majority of pets are from the Falls -- again - mostly pit bulls.

The SPCA will continue to accept animals from Niagara Falls. But, in either 2016 or 2017, the SPCA has told the city it will likely stop and that city must begin housing its own animals- which are going to be - mostly - pit bulls.

"Within the next two years the Niagara County SPCA and the City of Niagara Falls will be moving to ceasing the SPCA servicing the city," Lewis said.

And if the city builds a shelter that is a no kill shelter, then expect costs to skyrocket. Aggressive and poorly treated pit bulls will make up the bulk of the dogs.

In a few years they will fill up all the cages of the shelter.

And it will cost. Whether city run or on contract with a not for profit – it will require a director, employees, consultants, a building, equipping the building, vehicles, insurance, utilities, promotion and advertising, legal and veterinarian services.

Salaries, contracts, services straight on the backs of taxpayers.

Lewis in describing the SPCA is also giving us a glimpse of what Niagara Fall's future shelter will be like.

"When walking through our building you will find a pit bull type dog in almost every kennel and most of these dogs do originate from the City of Niagara Falls…. There is not enough space in our shelter to accommodate the number of animals that need our help."

Thanks to Niagara Falls' pit bull owners, the SPCA is full, so they will not be able to take pit bulls from the city.

The solution is either the city paying a lot more money to the SPCA to expand their facility or build a city shelter where pit bulls will reside.

Before the city spends this kind of money, someone should look into pit bulls in this city. The number of people who have them. Can they nail it down to a certain part of the city, to a certain type of owner? Can it be evaluated as to how ownership of pit bulls has expanded in the last 15 years from a problem to a big problem then try to solve the problem.

Dyster is trying to accommodate the problem, instead of fixing it.

Right across the Niagara River in Ontario, there is no problem. Prosperous Niagara Falls, Ontario put a ban on pit bulls.

Niagara Falls, New York, with the highest crime rate in the state, and one of the poorest cities in the nation, has an expensive pit bull problem.

The local SPCA is potentially not going to take dogs anymore from Niagara Falls- which isn't the best thing for the pit bulls.

So Niagara Falls will build its own animal shelter - for pit bulls.

And at the SPCA, and perhaps soon at the Niagara Falls shelter, pit bulls who can't be adopted will sit in a cage, as if they had a life sentence in prison.

Instead of the death sentence of euthanasia.


An aggressive, abandoned pit bull is more than likely not adoptable.






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