Humane Society of
Wayne County, New York

1475 County House Road, Lyons, NY 14489


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More than 25 years of shelter operations

This page was last modified on Sunday November 18, 2012

Extending a helping hand to our neighbors

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 news spread quickly concerning an animal hoarding complaint against the Wyoming County SPCA. The New York State Troopers obtained a warrant and went into this shelter. What they found were hundreds upon hundreds of cats running loose within the facility in unsanitary conditions.

The Humane Society of Wayne County called early Thursday morning to offer assistance and remove some of the kitties from this devastating environment. We didn’t hear anything until late Friday morning from the Erie County SPCA, who had taken control of the shelter and capturing, securing, tagging and evaluating all of the cats’ conditions and arranging temporary housing for the cats.

Mark Plyter, Executive Director and Stephanie Cooper, President of the Board of Directors headed out for the three hours round trip to assist with the effort. We arrived at the Wyoming County SPCA and were greeted by a State Trooper at the driveway. We told him where we were from (not that anyone missed us in our van) and that we were there to help with the kitties. Beth from the Erie County SPCA directed us to pull up to the house and bring our carriers inside.

I went in knowing what I thought it might look like. What I saw was beyond my wildest nightmares. There were row upon row of crates filled with multiple cats per crate, just sitting with these very large soulful eyes staring back at me—not a meow to be heard from the hundreds of bewildered cats wondering what was going on.

After 48 hours the Erie County SPCA was still capturing loose cats in walls and ceilings that had eluded them. Mark and I went through with a volunteer to locate the 16 cats that would be going home with us and loaded them in carriers and then into the van for their next journey. When this task was complete we had to go back into the shelter and wait for the paperwork on our new friends.

Once again surrounded by a sea of crates in numerous rooms, tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at all those beautiful and wonderful cats. How could this have happened? As heartbreaking as it was to stand there looking at all of them, it was more heartwarming to see the swarm of volunteers helping these kitties. Three different organizations showed up while we were there to take cats back to their facilities. Organizations had come on this day from as far away as Albany and as close as the next town. Why does it always seems that it takes a tragedy for people to help one another?

Well, our new furry friends took the trip in stride and arrived at our shelter no worse for the long drive. We placed them in their new cages with warm fuzzy blankets, fresh water and food and each with their own toy. As I watched them settle in and take in their surroundings they seemed to know that everything was going to be okay and that they could start to relax.

Our staff will spend the next several days doing checkups, medication and any other treatments these guys need. Some need dental care; others will need special medication and possibly surgery. The cats will not be up for adoption for a couple of weeks and will not be available to the public for viewing.

I ask you to consider sending a donation to our General Fund, either through PayPal, check or simply stopping by the shelter.

Thank you for helping us and these wonderful, loving animals that were placed in the situation through no fault of their own.

We can’t wait for the day when these guys get their second chance at a loving home.


Stephanie Cooper