• Susan Houser

Worth Watching – Niagara County, NY

Niagara County (population 216,000) is in the far western part of New York state and includes the Niagara Falls area. The county is just north of Buffalo and has a border with Canada.


The Niagara County SPCA (NCSPCA) is a non-profit located in Niagara Falls that serves the county and has a contract with the city of Niagara Falls (population 50,000) for animal sheltering. The NCSPCA also has agreements with the city of Lockport (population 21,000), and the towns of Wheatfield, Pendleton, and Cambria. The NCSPCA may refuse to renew its contract with the city of Niagara Falls after 2015 due to shelter space and budgetary constraints. The mayor of Niagara Falls has proposed building a new shelter.


In January 2012, there was an uproar when a report alleged cruelty and high rates of euthanasia at NCSPCA, and a new board of directors took over in May 2012. The NCSPCA took steps to lower the kill rate, including changing its policy to no longer impound community cats and expanding its hours for adoption.


In 2014 the shelter reported a 93% live release rate with an intake of 2574 cats and dogs. I am not listing the shelter as 90% Documented for two reasons. First, it sounds like the owner surrender process, which uses a waiting list, does not have an exception for cases where an owner must surrender an animal immediately. Second, the shelter has an unusually high rate of deaths in shelter care, and when deaths are counted with euthanasias the modified live release rate is only 86%. The high rate of deaths in shelter care may be due to overcrowding in the inadequate shelter building, which would presumably be ameliorated if the NCSPCA no longer serves Niagara Falls after this year or if Niagara Falls builds a new shelter and contracts with the NCSPCA to run it.


Niagara County, New York, was originally listed by this blog on August 19, 2013. This post is a revision and update with 2014 statistics.

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