May 20, 2020 – Otsego County citizens who suspect animal cruelty or neglect can now go to the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) website to learn more about what to look for and to report suspected cruelty online.
As part of the Otsego County Animal Cruelty Task Force, or PETS (Prevention, Education, Training and Systems), the SQSPCA has created website resources specific to recognizing and reporting animal cruelty and neglect, including a “Report Cruelty” button at the top right of the website home page.
“It is important to note that while the SQSPCA is not law enforcement and, as such, cannot take action on its own, we are fortunate to have very supportive policing agencies in our communities. When our staff believe a report should be taken seriously, local law enforcement will, too,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.
“Folks must also understand that, in some instances, action will not be not immediate. There may be cases where there is not currently enough evidence of suspected cruelty to take action but for which evidence may be building,” cautioned Haynes.
In addition to the new reporting tool, the SQSPCA website also includes information and links to news articles on PETS, ways to recognize the physical and environmental signs of animal cruelty, and steps to take if you witness or suspect animal cruelty.
“If you would like to remain anonymous to those suspected of animal cruelty, we can arrange that,” Haynes said. “However, in order for the report to be taken seriously, we do need your name and contact information to share with law enforcement.”
The goal of PETS, formed in February of 2019, is to prevent and combat animal cruelty in Otsego County through education and empowerment of law enforcement and the general public. Task force members intend to accomplish this by putting together training for law enforcement, networking with other animal protection agencies, and establishing a standardized system of reporting suspected animal cruelty.
“The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office is reminding the community that animal cruelty is a crime,” reiterated Sheriff Richard J. Devlin. “The State of New York has criminalized the cruel treatment of animals. However, animal abuse and cruelty continue to occur in Otsego County and throughout New York State.
“The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, will do whatever we can to assist our citizens with animal related problems. Furthermore, we seek to protect animals from the neglect and abuse inflicted upon them in violation of current laws. We continue these efforts through education, mediation, investigation and enforcement working toward a healthy community where quality of life matters,” Devlin said.
Those suspecting animal cruelty or neglect can visit sqspca.org or call (607) 547-8111 and follow the prompts.
PETS (Prevention, Education, Training and Systems), the Otsego County Animal Cruelty Task Force, is a collaboration of the Susquehanna SPCA, the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, Leatherstocking Veterinary Group, and Oneonta Veterinary Hospital.
In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 charitable organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org