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PENDLETON – The president of an animal rescue group blasted SPCA of Niagara shelter director Amy Lewis for alleged mismanagement, in the wake of Lewis’ appeal to the public to start adopting dogs and cats from the overcrowded SPCA shelter.

Carol Tutzauer, of Buffalo Humane, whose group is kicking off its own animal adoption promotion today, said of Lewis, “She’s incompetent, and she needs to get out of there. She’s just awful.”

Lewis said she tried to work with Tutzauer but gave it up because “she was too opinionated.” Tutzauer said, “They’ve got no leadership and then they tell the public, ‘If you don’t come and get these animals, we’ll have to go back to killing them.’ It’s just horrible.”

Tutzauer erupted after reading Wednesday’s Buffalo News story about Lewis’ adoption appeal.

In the article, Lewis and Susan Persico, an SPCA board member and veterinarian, criticized animal activists for pushing the SPCA into setting the goal of having a no-kill shelter but failing to foster or adopt animals to help the agency achieve that mission.

“They’re constantly blaming the public for everything,” Tutzauer said. She accused the SPCA of “alienating the public” by requiring a payment of $1,000 to become a voting member.

Tutzauer was one of the plaintiffs in an unsuccessful lawsuit that tried to overturn the $1,000 rule.

“They have a horrible message, and nobody who knows anything about no-kill,” Tutzauer said. “They should definitely stop blaming everybody else and engage the public in a positive way.”

Lewis said of Tutzauer: “It’s very unfortunate she can’t put personal differences aside. It’s no secret she wanted this position.” Tutzauer said she has a $65,000-a-year full-time job at the University at Buffalo and runs the Humane Society in her spare time.

“I do not want nor need her job,” Tutzauer said. “I did want to be on the board of directors because I support no-kill and I know quite a bit about it.”

Lewis said county residents “need to understand what the obstacles are. We’re not in any way blaming the public. The public very much wanted us to go to a no-kill shelter.”

“She’s a limp noodle. She’s not doing what she needs to do,” Tutzauer fired back.

Buffalo Humane is having a Black Friday cat adoption event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at its shelter, 7007 Campbell Blvd., Pendleton. All black and mostly black cats are available for free, and the first 15 adopters will also receive a free cat starter package. All other cats will have reduced adoption fees today: $25 for adult cats, $50 for older kittens and $105 for kittens under four months old. A Christmas free adoption promotion starts Monday, Tutzauer said, with the option of Christmas Day home delivery by “our volunteer elves.” The SPCA has announced free adoptions through Dec. 31 for all animals six months old and up at its shelter, 2011 Lockport Road, Wheatfield.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com