Bucks County SPCA Private Non-Profit Serving
Bucks County Since 1912
24 Hour Emergency Phone: 215.794.7425

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Helping 43 Chihuahuas and Their Family

ChihuahuapuppieskissOn April 23, 2015 the Bucks County SPCA, with the help of the Bensalem Police removed 32 Chihuahuas from a Bensalem residence. The dogs are safe and being well cared for at our shelters. We are also caring for 11 Chihuahuas previously removed from the residence. Clearly the circumstances leading to the ownership of so many dogs, and the removal of the dogs, were stressful for the family and the dogs alike.

The situation was brought to our attention by Bensalem animal control, and an investigation is ongoing. We’re now working cooperatively with the family of the dog owner to come to a resolution that will be good for dogs and people alike, and to return a manageable number of dogs. The family is happy for us to spay or neuter all of the dogs. As we work through this the dogs will be in our care and we will update you as they become ready for adoption. If you are interested in adopting one of these dogs, email info@bcspca.org for more information and an application. 

Remember, we are here to help. If you someone who has too many animals call us at 215.794.7425 and we can help.

Volunteer Viewpoints: Adoptions

Think you know how adoption decisions are made? Take a peek behind the scenes with this edition of Volunteer Viewpoints, written by Justin Palatsky who volunteers in the Upper Bucks shelter Cat Adoption Room.

I was helping a family decide on the right cats.  They wanted to adopt two at once, which is always awesome when potential adopters say they’re looking to adopt two.  I know all the volunteers/workers in ear-shot perk up when we hear that.  Anyway, I showed them a black and white (cow-patterned) cat named Buddy who was on the adoption floor for I think just a few hours.  I interacted with Buddy a few minutes before the family came and realized he would not last long with such a friendly personality as his.

candy cane
Shy Candy Cane got a new home when fellow feline Buddy chose her to be his friend

Well, once in the visiting room he makes his rounds and headbutts everyone as expected.  He soon settles down in the mother’s lap and Buddy thinks he’s adopted already.

So, onto the cat #2.  We try a couple of others that the father liked but there wasn’t that instant spark like with Buddy.  So I tell them about a shy cat named Candy Cane (a small brown tabby).  You could hold her forever.  I bring Candy Cane into the visiting room and put her in the middle of the floor while keeping my hands on her to provide a little safety net.  Buddy runs right over to her and licks her forehead.  He didn’t do that to the other cats I brought in.

The family is unanimously and instantly sold.  Buddy and Candy Cane go home together and I can only assume they rule the house side-by-side now.

In Memory of Nardo

NardoAs many of you know, Nardo has left us. He came to us almost three years ago as part of a case of neglect. His owners had more horses than they could care for, so they were signed over to us. We were able to place all of the 15 horses, except for Nardo and Tucker. According to his owner, Nardo started his life in Ireland, and went on to be a racehorse. A lot of his life we have no knowledge of, but it was obvious that his attachment and affection for Tucker were genuine. They had been together for many years, and were able to enjoy the last three years with us. Over the past year, Nardo started slowing down quite a bit. His constant arthritic pain built, and his feet were causing more and more problems. It became painful for him to move, even with the regular maintenance and anti-inflammatory medication. He let us know it was time for him to leave us this past weekend. It wasn’t fair to let him linger any longer, so he was able to let go with several loved staff members with him. Although we will miss him, we know his last years with us were made as lovely as possible.

Maria Rupp

Save Some Small, Furry Lives This Spring

kitten stay for webEvery year kitten season starts in the spring and brings hundreds of baby cats to our doors. Kittens under 10 weeks or so are placed in foster care, where they can learn all about living with a family and their immune systems have a chance to develop before coming to the shelter to find their forever homes. By fostering these little ones you are giving  them the best chance at a long, happy and healthy life.

What is Involved with Fostering?

You provide a calm nurturing environment where the kittens can flourish and become well socialized. We’ll set you up with the cat supplies you need, and cover the cost of food and other necessities. Cats and kittens need to come to the Bucks County SPCA at scheduled intervals for routine vaccines and worming. Whenever possible, cats and kittens will be tested for feline leukemia before being fostered.

Best of all you’ll get weeks of cute buzz-y purrs, soft kneading paws and heart-melting gazes from your foster kittens.

How do I become a Foster Parent?

Come to one of our Kitten Foster Orientations

Please note new date Tuesday, April 7 at 6 pm at our Lahaska shelter, 1665 Street Road (Please register so we know how many people to expect).

Thursday, April 2 at 6 pm at our Upper Bucks shelter, 60 Reservoir Road, Quakertown (Please register so we know how many people to expect)

Can’t attend? No problem, simply call your closest shelter. 215.794.7425 for the Lahaska shelter or 267.347.4674 for Upper Bucks and ask about fostering kittens.

 Can I Help if I can’t Foster?

Absolutely! Please consider donating an item from our
Kitten Season Wish List:

  • Canned Cat/Kitten food(prefer Pate style)
  • Dry Kitten food
  • Non-Clumping litter
  • KMR Milk Replacement Powder
  • Kitten nursing bottles
  • Small cat beds
  • Fleece baby blankets
  • Toys (ie: springs, balls, mice etc.)
  • Pet store gift cards
  • Small stainless steel bowls
  • Shallow litter boxes

Pet Welfare and Wellness Series

ScrappySILKYXbluetancuteThe Bucks County SPCA is partnering with Holiday House Pet Resort and Doylestown Veterinary Hospital to help you and your pets have the best possible life together. The Pet Welfare & Wellness Series will help you and your pets get the most of your relationship from day one through grey muzzles.

This free, four-part series covers Adopting a Shelter Pet, Pet First Aid, Pet Socialization & Training and Caring for Senior Pets. Attendees are invited to sign up for one or all four events. Children are welcome and each presentation will have information specifically tailored for them.

It is our hope that the Pet Welfare and Wellness Series will help head off some of the problems that all to often lead to pets being surrendered to shelters and will strengthen the bond between pets and their people.

The Pet Welfare and Wellness Series:

Adopting a Shelter Pet
March 19th, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Bucks County SPCA, Upper Bucks Shelter
60 Reservoir Road, Quakertown PA
Sign Up

Pet First Aid
April 20, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Health & Wellness Center
847 Easton Road, Warrington, PA
Sign Up

Pet Socialization and Training
May 21, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Holiday House Pet Resort
380 North Shady Retreat Road, Doylestown, PA
Sign Up

Caring for Senior Pets
June 16, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Bucks County SPCA Lahaska Shelter
1665 Street Road, Lahaska, PA
Sign Up
All presentations are free, but seating is limited. Please use the links above to reserve your spot.

Conversations with Cats, Valentine’s Day Edition

Location: Bucks County SPCA Cat Adoption RoomCat Kissing Booth

Hey cats, Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. We should plan a fun activity to promote how lovable and adoptable you all are, how about a kissing booth? Look I found this cute picture online, doesn’t that look great?

Abigail Cat

Judging by the the look on Abigail’s face the cats weren’t quite convinced that my kissing booth was such a great idea. “Why don’t you let us do our own research and we’ll get back to you on that one” she said. So I gave them some time to think it over and returned to the cat room in a bit.

Upon entering I could tell something was up. The cats looked even more pleased with themselves than normal, which as anyone who knows cats knows, is quite a bit.

Tiger Cat

This time Tiger was voted spokescat. She addressed me from her throne – also known as the lap of a volunteer. “We’ve thought it over” Tiger proclaimed “and decided that a kissing booth is really something a *sniff* dog would do. So we did some research of our own and figured out how to re-brand this to be more, well, feline.” Tiger nudged her volunteer servant who dutifully showed me the picture the cats had deemed appropriate for a Valentine’s Day event.


khissing booth

Sigh. The cats want a hissing booth? Well, I thought to myself, at least they only want to charge 5 cents per hiss.  I tried to explain to Tiger that maybe promoting hissing wasn’t the best way to get people to adopt them, but she was having none of it. “Nonsense” she told me. “Anyone who wants to adopt a cat knows that sometimes cats hiss, especially when they have to live in a place with so many cats and so few servants.” Here she paused and glanced around the room to make sure we all understood that a double-digit number of cats to a single-digit number of servants is a COMPLETELY unacceptable situation.

I could see that the cats were not going to let go of the hissing booth. So I did what any good cat lover does when faced with feline logic. I bribed them. “Great” I told the cats, “no kissing booth for you guys, we’ll leave that to the dogs.” Pulling out a crinkly bag full of cat treats, I instantly got their attention. As I started doling out the treats I asked “How about we tell everyone how loving and affectionate you can be and lower your adoption donations to just $14 for the week of February 14th?”

I decided to take the contented sound of munching as agreement and bolted out of the room before the cats did any more research on their own.

And now I am very happy to tell you that the wonderful cats at the Bucks County SPCA are full of love will show this through their tail shimmies, slow eye blinks, head bumps and buzz-y purrs (though they may also display their hissing skills on occasion). Cats over one year old can also be adopted for only $14 February 8th through 15th!

BCSPCA Celebrates 2000+ Adoptions in 2014

Tommy Shih TzuIt was an amazing year at the BCSPCA, over two thousand animals – 2,033 to be exact- got a second chance at life in 2014. Thank you to the families who opened their hearts and homes to animals in need. Our very last adoption of the year was especially heartwarming. Tommy the special needs Shih Tzu, right, is deaf and has impaired vision, but that doesn’t stop him – and it didn’t stop his new family from adopting him. Thanks to all for supporting us so we can be here for Tommy and other animals in need.

Measuring Progress in Cruelty Enforcement in Pennsylvania

“A law on paper is only as good as the enforcement and the respect that people have for it.”

2014 was the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the law which first required training for officers in PA. When I began work in 1971 there was no training required and none available. People learned what they needed to know from a more experienced worker, or on the job. Humane officers, with the power to enforce the anti-cruelty laws, were given a badge, a map, a copy of the law and a pile of complaints. The miracle is that even under those circumstances much excellent work was done. Humane officers learned to write search warrants with the help of someone in the DA’s office, and citation writing from a helpful police officer, and they learned from their mistakes. The Federated Humane Societies of PA began offering training seminars in 1987. These voluntary sessions were well attended and most officers welcomed the mandated training. A comprehensive program began in 1996 for everyone, including experienced officers, and the Federated Humane Societies of PA holds a 2 day continuing education seminar annually. I have organized and attended these trainings every year and it has allowed me to witness the growth that has resulted. When officers get together each year they share their successes and their challenges and others benefit from their experience. They hear from prosecutors, veterinarians, judges, forensics experts and livestock specialists on a variety of topics that they may encounter in this work and they take these tools back and put them to good use.

The training has increased public confidence in humane officers, which has in turn made it possible to strengthen the laws against cruelty to animals. Penalties have increased for a wide variety of offenses. Transport of horses in double deck vehicles has been banned. In 2004 the law was changed to give judges the explicit authority to order that people convicted of cruelty be restricted from owning or working with animals during the statutory period of the sentence. Passage of the Cost of Care law last year allows an agency filing charges to petition for defendants to start paying for the cost of care of animals held in cruelty cases, before a final verdict is reached. A law on paper is only as good as the enforcement and the respect that people have for it. We’ve made progress there too. Prosecutors handle serious cruelty cases with the same attention to detail that they would give to other violent crimes and judges are handing down significant sentences. Cases are being covered by the press and the public has a better understanding of how cruelty to animals relates to other crimes. Cases that might not have been reported before are now being investigated and successfully prosecuted because of increased public awareness.

Another change, which benefits animals, is improved cooperation and communication between interest groups that have sometimes been at odds in the past. Pennsylvania is an agricultural state, and a unique part of the training for humane officers is a requirement to learn about animals in agriculture. Working with the PA Department of Agriculture, Penn State and the state wide farm organizations to develop the training opened the doors of communication with ongoing benefits. Animal welfare experts from other states are surprised to learn that in PA, the Department of Agriculture, the farm organizations and the Federated Humane Societies enjoy friendly, respectful and productive working relationships. This helps to get good legislation passed and to solve problems for animals in many quiet ways that do not make headlines.

~Anne Irwin
Executive Director
Bucks County SPCA

Executive Director Anne Irwin Announces Retirement

anne hsThe Board of Directors of the Bucks County SPCA announced that Executive Director Anne Irwin plans to retire in September of 2015 after 43 years with the organization. The Board has formed a Transition Committee to oversee the selection and hiring of a new Executive Director and will post a job announcement in the near future.

Nancy Holland, President of the Board of Trustees said “We are tremendously grateful to Anne Irwin for her years of unwavering service to this organization. During her tenure, BCSPCA has grown and flourished, having benefited greatly from Anne’s experience, strong leadership and dedication to animal welfare. Her steadfast commitment to this community will leave a lasting legacy.”

Ms. Irwin began work at Bucks County SPCA in 1971 and took the helm in 1975. “It was a different world then. Every day was a challenge with very limited resources and a population of unwanted animals much larger than it is today.” During her tenure the BCSPCA began humane education programs and expanded the cruelty enforcement program. BCSPCA opened a second shelter in Upper Bucks County in 2012 which greatly enhanced the organization’s ability to serve the animals and people of Bucks County.

Ms. Irwin also implemented innovative programs to help animals stay in their homes such as temporary boarding for animals whose families face emergencies, donations of pet food to local food pantries and behavior training and hotline support for pet owners. The organization now regularly saves thousands of animals a year who are either unwanted or living in unsafe living conditions.

Looking back on her time with the organization Ms. Irwin says “The Bucks County SPCA has made such progress. We have a great team and I am happy that we are in a strong position to be a resource for animals and the people who care about them for years to come. I look forward to a smooth transition with the new Executive Director.”

Why You Should Buy Your Dog a License

What is the Dog Law?Do Lic

It is the statute that contains provisions commonly thought of as the “leash law”. It requires licensing of all dogs over 3 months of age. It also requires kennels to be licensed, and includes provisions for inspecting and regulating kennels including large commercial kennels (which are sometimes referred to as puppy mills), nonprofit kennels like animal shelters, boarding kennels and all places that keep a cumulative total of more than 26 dogs in the course of a year. The Dog Law also contains a section on rabies vaccination which requires all dogs over 3 months of age to be vaccinated and all cats to be vaccinated if they spend any part of a 24 hour day inside a dwelling. (Cats that spend all of their time outside are not required by law to be vaccinated). If a dog does damage to livestock the Dog Law contains provisions for the livestock owner to be reimbursed from the Dog Law Restricted Account. Dangerous dogs are also covered. If a dog attacks a person or other domestic animal without provocation, a hearing can be held before a judge where evidence is presented to have the dog declared dangerous. Owners who choose to keep dangerous dogs must carry extra insurance and take additional precautions so that their dog is not a danger to others. The Dog Law also contains a section that requires that animals dogs and cats adopted from shelters or pounds in Pennsylvania must be spayed or neutered, either before they leave the shelter or soon after. It is a lengthy and complex law that covers a variety of topics related to dogs.

Who enforces the Dog Law?

The Dog Law is enforced by police or animal control officers hired local municipalities and also by state dog wardens who are employees of the Department of Agriculture. Dog wardens are the only officers with jurisdiction to inspect kennels and enforce kennel regulations. Humane society police officers cannot enforce the Dog Law. The only law that they have jurisdiction to enforce is Section 5511 of the PA Crimes Code, which covers cruelty to animals. It is no wonder that members of the public are sometimes confused about where to report a problem.

How is Dog Law enforcement funded?

All of the activities of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement are paid out of the Dog Law Restricted Account. The Dog Law Restricted Account is funded principally by dog license fees, kennel license fees, and to a much lesser extent by fines from Dog Law violations. None of the activities are paid for by tax money like other government services, nor are they funded by donations like the work of non-profit organizations. The restricted account pays for a staff which includes administrators, more than 60 dog wardens state wide, a new special team of 4 kennel inspectors who handle problem kennels, and a new special prosecutor to help dog wardens with their important cases in court. It also pays reimbursement for livestock damage claims, and grants to shelters and humane societies which house stray dogs. Dog lovers should know that buying their dog license is the most important step that they can take to assure that important activities like inspection of kennels continue to take place. Kennel inspection and enforcement efforts are what makes sure that dogs are being properly cared for in large commercial kennels also called “puppy mills”. Buying a dog license is a very real way to put your money where your mouth is on this important issue. A multimillion dollar budget is raised every year in $6 and $8 increments when people renew their dog licenses. Licenses are available from the County Treasurer or at the Bucks County SPCA

Why is Dog Law part of the Department of Agriculture?

Dogs are not livestock so this does not make sense to many people. The answer comes from the history of dog licensing in Pennsylvania, which has always been an agricultural state. Statewide dog licensing began around 1920 as a means to establish a fund to repay farmers for livestock damage caused by dogs. The restricted account was established and over the years the rest of the law grew around this original purpose. The restricted account assured the continued activities, since money from dog licenses cannot go into the General Fund to be spent for unrelated purposes.