Updated: Saturday, 07 Jan 2012, 7:04 PM EST
Published : Saturday, 07 Jan 2012, 1:43 PM EST
WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) - Protesters lined up Saturday along a Niagara County road leading to the SPCA to demonstrate over recent allegations of animal mistreatment and mass killings .
The public debate has turned into demonstration.
Critics and supporters of the Niagara County SPCA staged counter-protests outside the shelter Saturday afternoon.
Carol Tutzauer of Buffalo Humane said, "The Niagara SPCA has become the killing fields for Niagara County, when it ought to be a place of refuge."
"They won't even give [SPCA Executive Director John] Faso a chance; they won't even give nobody in here a chance. But they do amazing things," added SPCA supporter, Dorothy West.
Former shelter workers accuse SPCA Director John Faso of allowing sick and injured animals to suffer without treatment, and permitting healthy ones to be put down.
And they're assailing the group's Board of Directors, for keeping Faso in charge.
Former employee, Melissa Voutour said, "I have taken, on two different occasions, sick and half-dead cats to Companion Care Veterinary Clinic to be euthanized, because they were so sick from lack of medical care."
"This card here, this isn't just a card. This was a dog. This was a living animal, who was put down just because it had flea allergies," said former intern, Clare Sweeney.
When we took our cameras inside the shelter, the cages appeared clean; the animals healthy and well-cared for.
Erie County SPCA Executive Director Barbara Carr is conducting an investigation of the Niagara shelter's policies and procedures.
But critics are skeptical of how objective she can be.
Morgan Dunbar of Animal Allies of WNY asks, "Is the Erie County SPCA likely to make any findings that the Niagara killings were unnecessary or improper, when their very own veterinary technicians are the ones doing the killing?
"Barb Carr is the gold standard, as far as executive directors of SPCAs are concerned. Her reputation is beyond reproach," said Stefan Mychajliw, SPCA Spokesperson.
After speaking with Gina Browning of the Erie County organization and she explained that the vet tech is an employee of Erie County and is only a volunteer at the Niagara County location. He is not actually on staff at both organizations.
During the investigation, relevant input from the public about Niagara County SPCA's euthanasia practices is being sought. The public can make comments by following this link.