Schenectady County

Schenectady County officials, SPCA reach deal to end suit

Schenectady County and the Schenectady County SPCA have reached an agreement that ends the group’s l

Schenectady County and the Schenectady County SPCA have reached an agreement that ends the group’s lawsuit over control of animals it seizes in investigations and raids.

Details are expected to be announced later this week.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals filed a lawsuit in state Supreme County Friday after the county refused to accept a dog and 44 cats the SPCA seized from the Suffolk Avenue home of Michelle Regel two days earlier.

In its lawsuit, the SPCA cited state Agriculture and Markets Law that designates the sheriff’s department as the agency charged with taking custody of and ensuring care for an animal belonging to someone arrested by an SPCA officer.

State Supreme Court Justice Vincent J. Reilly Jr. was scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in the case.

“We are thrilled that both sides were able to sit down and figure out a solution to this problem. This lawsuit was not about attacking anyone; it was about doing what is right for the community and its animals. This is great news for the entire county, and we are excited for what is to come from this situation,” said Schenectady County SPCA Chief Mathew Tully.

“This a good step in the right direction to a long-term solution. But we still have a long way to go in animal control in Schenectady County,” he said.

Tully said his board is expected to sign off on the agreement Thursday and the county Legislature and county district attorney also have to approve it.

Schenectady County Attorney Chris Gardner said the agreement will “usher in a new era of dog control and animal control in Schenectady County and will directly address the problem of vicious dogs in the city.”

Incidents of dogs attacking people in Schenectady have been publicized in recent months. One victim had parts of her face torn off.

Tully said a veterinarian on Monday and Tuesday euthanized 13 of the 44 cats seized by the SPCA on Oct. 6. “We anticipated five would be put down, but we had to put down 13,” he said. Homes were found for the remainder.

The animals, a mix of diseased and healthy felines, were put down because there was no place to shelter them or because of a lack of adoptive homes, Tully said. “We maxed out the available shelters and available adoptions,” he said.

Tully paid for the euthanasia himself. “I did not want anyone who contributed to the society for the care of animals to think their money was being used to euthanize the cats,” he said.

Regel currently faces a single misdemeanor charge of failing to provide sustenance to a animal, in this case a dog, which was euthanized.

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