NIAGARA FALLS, NY - The Niagara County SPCA hopes it may be able to resume adopting out cats at what has been a key satellite location for their efforts to find homes for felines in Niagara Falls.
According to SPCA Executive Director Amy Lewis, the relationship between her agency and the Petco on Military Road began to sour in December, when, according to Lewis, one of the Niagara County SPCA's volunteers missed their shift at the store, which for more than four years had been a location for the Niagara SPCA's cat adoption program.
That, combined with a change in store management and possible confusion between the two parties regarding the type of cats allowed to be brought to the store, resulted in the store deciding to enter an arrangement with the SPCA of Erie County instead, according to Lewis.
"Petco had decided they were going to go with the Erie County SPCA, and had asked Niagara County SPCA to leave and we would be unable to have our cats there and adopt them out any longer," Lewis told WGRZ-TV.
The Military Road Petco was one of four off-site adoption sites utilized by the Niagara SPCA, and while they still had three others, Lewis says this one was especially important, particularly because of its high visibility in the Military Road retail corridor near Niagara falls Boulevard.
“Of the off-site adoption locations we have, Petco was certainly the most fruitful of those adopting out the most number of animals...last year we adopted out 65 cats, which is a considerable number for our shelter,” Lewis said. “I never begrudged [the] Erie County SPCA the spot and I have a great relationship with them. They do wonderful things, but I was of the mindset that Niagara County Petco should support the community that supports it.”
Frustrated by what she says was difficulty getting answers from Petco corporate offices, despite weeks of trying, Lewis turned to social media by posting on Facebook that that she would be “personally” boycotting Petco.
Several SPCA supporters responded to the post by saying that they would join her in that boycott.
“When I posted that, I didn’t anticipate it would receive as much mileage as it did. I never called for anyone else to join a boycott and certainly it wasn’t necessarily the position of the shelter but my personal opinion,” she said.
Two On Your Side contacted Petco’s office of corporate communications, and forwarded Lewis’ post to them in an e-mail. We also called them and left a phone message.
While we did not receive an immediate reply, Lewis says she was contacted by Petco within an hour.
“They did call me back today so I’m really happy about that,” Lewis confirmed.
And while she says no promises have been made, at least two sides are talking.
“We discussed the potential for picking up the relationship again and I told them I’d be very happy to do so,” Lewis said.