Erie County SPCA no longer accepting new clients at veterinary clinic due to staff shortage

Due to a lack of staff, especially veterinarians, the Erie County SPCA will no longer be accepting new clients at its veterinary clinic.

WEST SENECA, NY – 2 On Your Side looks at the local impacts of the veterinarian shortage – which is a national problem.

On Thursday evening, we reported how a local veterinary medical center said the issue resulted in verbal abuse of staff and the Erie County SPCA said they had to make changes as well.

Due to the shortage of vets, officials at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center say there aren’t many appointments open for animals in need of care. And that, increased customer emotions lead to verbal abuse of staff.

“Having clients yelling at them and yelling at them and having unrealistic expectations is emotionally draining,” said Allison Raffaele, hospital administrator at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center.

Orchard Park Police confirm that they have responded nine times in the past year to respond to complaints of unruly behavior.

The medical center has put up signs asking people to be respectful.

At the Erie County SPCA, due to a shortage of staff, including veterinarians, the SPCA is no longer accepting new clients into its veterinary clinic, but only serves existing patients.

“Our goal has been to see clients and align their preventative services so that we can continue to have healthy pets living in our community,” said Melanie Rushforth, vice president of veterinary services for the SPCA. serving Erie County.

The SPCA says they have heard from disappointed and even angry pet owners that they need to go elsewhere.

“People don’t like to be told no and especially when it comes to their pets, it’s those kids and when a pet is sick or in pain, it’s a moment. difficult to seek care, ”Rushforth said.

And just to be clear, the SPCA still accepts pets in their shelter.

The SPCA says it is realistic about what it can offer.

“We know what we are capable of doing and that is really providing extra care to our patients and we are leaving the ill and injured emergency care to the clinics best suited to do it,” said Rushforth.

Due to the shortage of vets, the SPCA tells us they really don’t know when new clients will be accepted here at the vet clinic. The SPCA has posted information about the situation on its website.

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