They have been country cats, but soon you can call them mall rats, when the Erie County SPCA closes its Southtowns shelter and opens an adoption center in Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga.
A pilot program last fall at the mall was wildly successful, with 499 cats adopted in about four months. That's compared to 559 cats adopted in a year's time from the shelter on Pontiac Road in Evans.
Since the Southtowns shelter was losing money, and the SPCA stands to adopt out more animals while not losing money at the mall, the move made sense to the agency.
But some Southtowns residents grumble about the move, which will leave them with the option of going to the SPCA in the Town of Tonawanda to surrender or drop off dogs, unless the Ten Lives Club cat rescue and adoption group starts accepting dogs.
--- Barbara O'Brien