New SPCA manager

Jason Berube, the new manager of the SPCA in Cattaraugus County is shown with Chance.

The SPCA in Cattaraugus County has a new manager, Jason Berube. After living in Cuba until he was 14, then joining the U.S. Marine Corps at 18 and traveling the world, Berube returned to Olean with his growing family, including his two dogs, one a red dobie greyhound mix that survived parvo twice.

Since Berube’s return he attended St. Bonaventure University, studying business management, and he worked in retail. He’s had animals and rescued them his entire life and has always adopted, including horses.

He worked with K-9 units in the military and was involved with studying dog behavior, particularly aggressive dogs, in California. He’s happy he can use his experience, training and love of animals to help the animals at the SPCA.

In an introductory note to SPCA volunteers, he wrote:

All volunteers will find an environment that is respectful, honest and hardworking. I very much enjoy what I do and have nothing but good things to say about everyone I have met.

My management style is different from what people are used to. I prefer to have input from everyone, as each person contributes and comes up with some amazing ideas. Respect, common courtesy and professionalism have always led me to creating a positive atmosphere. My goal is to create a place where people who walk in can feel the love and joy that everyone has for the animals and each other.

I invite you all to come in, introduce yourselves and let me know how you want to help. We need our awesome volunteers to support the animals and all of us at the SPCA. We welcome more volunteers, to drive and pick up animals from the Allegany County SPCA Spay Neuter Clinic, to walk the dogs on a regular basis, to play with the cats, fold laundry and more.

We have already done some great things in the short time I’ve been here. We re-homed 11 dogs that were saved from a “kill shelter” that arrived in December. Nine were found homes before Christmas. I’ve raised funds for an excellent staff training program, ( and have arranged for two new dog sponsorships, in addition to Aquaria’s sponsorship of Jafar the cat. My door is always open and I look forward to working together to find these wonderful animals their forever homes.”

CHANCE THE DOG: Jason reports that Chance is a little over 7 years old and has been at the SPCA for seven months.

“He is a handsome black and white pit bull terrier mix and he acts like he is a 3-year-old, with lots of energy, a playful personality and is very loyal,” Jason says.

Chance thrives and adores all eyes and attention on him which brings out his playful puppy side. He needs a home where he is the only animal at first, until a set schedule, routine and ample, rigorous playtime are set. Then he settles into a loving lap dog. He is smart and gentle but experienced dog owners will need to work with him to understand and bring out the best in this super high energy dog.

CANDY PLANTS JOINS BOARD: She writes, “First and foremost I’ve been an animal lover since childhood. I spent much time growing up on my grandparent’s farm taking delight in finding a hidden litter of kittens in the hayloft. My husband and I have a 15-year-old Jack Russell terrier and he rules the roost.”

She has spent more than 35 years in the non-profit world of Cattaraugus County, including United Way and Community Action, working with hundreds of families facing difficult challenges. Many of them had animals which also had to be helped.

“I believe that additional partners, businesses, students and community members would be interested in learning about the many ways to get true satisfaction supporting our local SPCA,” she says. “Adopting, fostering, donating, volunteering, educating and assisting a neighbor are only a few ideas.”

KIM KEANE, ANIMAL CARE SUPERVISOR: After returning to school to get her degree in animal welfare and management from Stautzenberger College in Brockville, Ohio, Kim has returned to the SPCA to run the medical department and oversee animal care. She reports weekly on the status of all the animals and the adoptions.

For the first week of January she listed the following animals as adopted or applied for: Cats — Aurora, Marsha, Noel, Ripley, Magic, Travis, Goblin. Pending cats: Sylvester, Violet, Pierre, Ellie. Dogs — Lila B., Cooper, Beau, Dozer, Duke, Stitch. Pending dogs: Honey Bear, Tucker, Tanya, Toby.

During the COVID-19 crisis people are getting much comfort from their animals.

SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISING: The SPCA is so fortunate to have such generous supporters from the Olean area, and beyond. There was tremendous support for the Christmas Store at the Mall, with steady customers buying beautiful gifts for the holidays, benefiting the medical fund for the animals.

And the response to the annual newsletter was amazing, with individuals, businesses and organizations alike pitching in. The Carlsons have continued to donate monthly over the past few years, a great way to support the animals on a regular basis.

One donor said, “The articles remind us that the SPCA is the community’s organization and we must all do our part.”

PUPPY ADVICE FROM SPCA VET BOARD MEMBER: Ronnie Schenkein, DVM, retired, answered a question about the puppy habit of biting:

It is a good general rule not to allow this kind of mouthing behavior with thin-skinned humans, though it’s so natural for a puppy. Statistically, allowing this sort of thing has been shown to lead eventually to actual bites.

Strategies to cope with this include: Yelling “OUCH!” in a loud voice should make most puppies back off; pulling your hands and arms away, perhaps crossing them over your chest and turning away from the puppy, thus depriving him of your attention. Play does not resume until biting stops; everybody who interacts with the puppy should use an identical command, such as “NO BITE”; promptly offer an alternative for the puppy to mouth and bite at, which is a natural behavior and is necessary when they are teething.

A chew toy like a soft rope, rawhide, dental treats or a squeaky toy should make the puppy happier.

Some people don’t approve of rawhide, but I don’t know how I would have survived my dogs without them. The trick is to supervise so they don’t eat too much in a given day, and choose items unlikely to wind up with sharp points. I like plain white retriever rolls or bagel shapes. I think the ones without flavoring are less messy. Pig ears have sometimes been recalled for salmonella.

FOR BILLS FANS: The SPCA online boutique ( has a collection of Buffalo Bills items, including stadium cushions, signs and more. A great way to support your team and the SPCA in this winning season. You’ll also find other nice items for sale. Take a look.

The SPCA in Cattaraugus County, 2944 Route 16, Olean, NY 14760; (716) 372-8492, is open Tuesday through Saturday noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.; closed Monday. Its website is or check out to see animals available for adoption. If you use Amazon, order through Amazon Smile and designate SPCA in CattCo as the recipient of percentages. It adds up.

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