While the SPCA Serving Erie County was celebrating its move to West Seneca on Monday, the Tonawanda Town Board contracted with an animal clinic to serve as a temporary dog shelter because it no longer has this service in its backyard.
Town police officers had previously taken stray animals to the SPCA's Ensminger Road headquarters when the town dog control officer was not available, after 5 p.m. and on weekends.
On Monday the board voted to name Ken-Ton Animal Clinic as the temporary shelter for overnight and weekend holding of animals seized by the town, strays and the disposal of deceased animals when an animal control officer is not available.
The town will continue to use the SPCA shelter in West Seneca during regular hours and duties will be handled by a dog control officer on weekdays, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger and Town Board members discussed the issue during the work session.
Town Attorney Mario A. Giacobbe said having a temporary shelter in the town will help reduce police department overtime and avoid taking a patrol car off the road, "simply to take a dog to West Seneca, which could take up to two hours depending on traffic volume."
Highway Superintendent Thomas C. Jones II said his crews also take dead animals to the SPCA Serving Erie County for proper disposal when a dog control officer is not available. His crews would also take advantage of the Ken-Ton Animal Clinic for a temporary shelter.
Dr. Peter J. Freyburger, a veterinarian and owner of the Ken-Ton Animal Clinic, was named a dog control officer. Freyburger's designation will allow him to accept the animals, but he will not be paid by the town in any capacity other than acting as a shelter.
In other animal-related actions, the town voted to continue to utilize Explorer's Post 1835 to conduct the 2017 dog census at a cost of $2,000. The teen members have been doing the census for more than five years, said Emminger, and reach about 25 percent of households each year in the door-to-door survey.
Also announced was a free rabies vaccination clinic, held by the Erie County Department of Health, from 4 to 7 p.m. May 24 at the Town of Tonawanda Highway Garage, 450 Woodward Ave.