WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) - The executive board of the Niagara County SPCA is now asking Erie County to independently investigate allegations of animal abuse at their facility.
The Niagara County SPCA has been the target of protesters for weeks, accused of allowing severely injured animals to suffer while euthanizing dozens of dogs and cats that seemed healthy. The SPCA's board of directors says it has no proof of any of that and accuses the protesters of overreacting.
The board met behind closed doors on Wednesday to discuss mounting charges of animal mistreatment and stinging criticism of executive director John Faso.
"And I've given money to them and I've brought blankets in and everything, I'd never bring another animal in here again, as long as I live. No matter how they want to raise funds or do anything else, I would never bring an animal here," said protester Joyce Donovan.
After two-and-a-half hours, board president Brandy Scrufari announced the SPCA of Erie County is being called in for a top-to-bottom investigation.
"The Erie County SPCA will have the entire cooperation of all employees here at the Niagara County SPCA," said Scrufari.
Faso, who was accompanied by his attorney, continues in his capacity as executive director, despite the protests.
Scrufari said, "We are looking at some of the issues with some of the management issues, and also some of the issues made by former employees."
Critics and former employees have claimed more than 500 cats and dogs were euthanized during a two month period, saying many were healthy.
"We have not been able to verify any of the accusations, including the issue of healthy animals being euthanized," said Scrufari.
Morgan Dunbar of Animal Allies of WNY said, "But I can tell you, honestly, that I have so many statements that I don't even know what to do with them. And I can put them all together and provide them to you all, but it's overwhelming."
However, Scrufari acknowledged that the board of directors doesn't really have access to any records that would prove or disprove any accusations of mistreatment. The board plans to meet with Erie County SPCA officials before the end of the week. The review will get underway shortly afterwards.
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