Officials consider expert panel

County supervisors agreed Tuesday to consider an animal abuse task force following discussion that i
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County supervisors agreed Tuesday to consider an animal abuse task force following discussion that included the possibility of providing funding to help defray costs of rescue groups treating and caring for abused animals.

Members of the county Board of Supervisors’ general services committee all agreed to the concept of forming a group of experts who could be contacted at the outset of incidents in which animal abuse is identified.

Committee Chairman Shayne Walters said the idea could help authorities prosecute cases of animal neglect and at the same time provide the knowledge needed to determine whether a case fits the profile of animal abuse.

The supervisors’ committee reviewed legislation from Rensselaer County, which formed an animal abuse task force last year. The group includes representatives of the veterinary field, law enforcement and animal protection organizations, who communicate on a regular basis and are available to provide insight into specific cases.

Jan Bever, a resident in the town of Charleston, started pushing for such a task force following the acquittal last year of Dake Fu, a Charleston dog breeder accused of leaving more than a dozen dogs without sufficient food, water and sanitation.

Bever on Tuesday held up a stack of petitions she’s been circulating throughout the county seeking community support for a task force.

“There’s hundreds of signatures here from local people who want something done,” Bever said.

“People are incensed over what’s happening, people want something done,” Bever said.

Discussion revealed several situations towns are facing related to animals. Florida Supervisor William Strevy said his town has been stuck with a $2,500 bill for medical care for an animal that was taken from a residents’ home — the case hasn’t been resolved in the courts yet, he said.

Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush said authorities in his town found an injured horse that wasn’t bad enough to be euthanized. But, he said, nobody will admit to owning the horse so the town is expected to pay for the horse’s medical care.

Providing a fund that could help address these situations would be a good idea, Amsterdam 4th Ward Supervisor David Dybas said.

Dybas said even a “token amount” could be established in the county budget “to help with placement. Let’s do it the right way, let’s give them some money so they can do the job.”

Supervisors asked County Attorney Doug Landon to research liability issues and find out details of other animal abuse task forces throughout the state.

Supervisors said the issue will be discussed again once research is compiled.

Categories: Schenectady County

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