UB's Party Animals
UB has been invaded by animals, both wild and pets. Students and teachers are becoming more open to having animals on campus. Alexa Strudler /// The Spectrum
We're being invaded.
Squirrels in the Student Union, snakes on the promenade, bats in the dorms, dogs in classrooms – there's not a direction to turn without seeing wildlife swarming the campus. Domesticated or wild, intentional or accidental, animals are walking around both UB campuses as if they owned the place.
In this semester alone there have been more than 60 animal complaints called into the University Police Department of all kinds. Things like snapping turtles near the bike path or a deer on South Campus that was hit by a car.
"We had a few calls about a coyote that had its head stuck in the jar," said Richard Linde, UPD assistant chief.
The coyote was rendered tame with its head covered by a plastic, gallon-sized food jar it had discovered while rummaging around in the garbage. The animal wandered around the woods near Governor's residence halls and people continually called in the complaint. The police, who had contacted Amherst Animal Control, even tried to set up stakeouts to anticipate its moves, but to no avail. Eventually, the calls stopped and the coyote wasn't seen around campus again.
Animals are everywhere. There have even been animal complaints in the SU. A couple of weeks ago, there was a family of squirrels scurrying around within its walls.
"I saw one squirrel in front of the small trash can that's in the tunnel [between the SU and Lockwood] and stopped because I thought it was cute, and then at least two more came out of a hole in the corner," said Kim Cioffi, a junior sociology major. "One was a baby and jumped on another squirrel's back."
The hole it most likely came through, located by the Lockwood-SU bridge, has since been patched up, and there hasn't been another squirrel complaint.
There are some people on campus trying to help out animals caught in situations like this. Carol Tutzauer, the director of assessment at the Teaching and Learning Center, also volunteers for Buffalo Humane as the co-founder and president. She has had personal experience with abandoned animals at UB.
"A couple years or so back, I know we worked on campus with Campus Dining Services to trap and save a momma cat and her [kittens] who had been dumped after the end of the semester at a dumpster outside Putnam's," Tutzauer said.
Eventually, all of the cats found homes, but if they weren't cared for it's likely that they could have formed what Tutzauer refers to as a ‘feral colony.' Students would have had to battle a cluster of cats on their way to Pistachio's, according to Tutzauer.
"There is a wonderful network of animal lovers on campus [and] they mobilize when a problem presents itself," Tutzauer said. "Another time, several staff members set up a dog crate and feeding station in an effort to corral a stray dog that found its way on campus, over near the Center for Tomorrow."
But animals on campus aren't restricted to solely wildlife. Susan Eilenberg, an associate professor of English, is known for bringing her four-year-old dog – a Coton de Tulear named Sascha – to class with her from time to time. Before bringing Sascha, Eilenberg makes sure that there are no objections or allergies from her students.
"When I'm having a bad day I always look forward to seeing Sascha, since I can't have a dog at my apartment and don't have my own," said Rachel Todd, a senior English major and member of Eilenberg's class. "I think it definitely lightens the mood and makes the class more relaxing, as well as giving the professor a more approachable persona."
Eilenberg has had almost no issues with Sascha on campus. Once as a puppy, Sascha ate the sleeve of a student's leather jacket, but Eilenberg had it replaced and no harm was done.
"Wherever we go people come up to pet him and tell me how much they miss the pets they've left at home," Eilenberg said. "In class students generally try to get him to come snuggle with them. If he had his way he would spend all his time curled up in students' laps."
Sascha has even made every student's childhood dream come true. Not only has the fluffy pooch had an appetite for leather, but he also has had an appetite for knowledge.
"I once had to tell my students that my dog had eaten their homework," Eilenberg said.
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