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All dogs want for Christmas…

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When considering gifts for animal lovers on your list this holiday season, instead of a useless trinket or forgotten sweater tossed in the back of the closet, give a donation of money or in kind in the person’s name to an animal shelter in your area. Money gifts are always useful for shelters to buy medical supplies, food, litter, leashes, bowls, leaning supplies, and many other items.

A phone call is a great way to help a shelter meet an immediate need, which might be kitten milk or bedding for a litter just brought in. You might even be able to help someone foster a litter with your gifts. You may even make a friend of the foster parents, and the four footed ones, too.

Another way a shelter may use money donations is to help in training staff or volunteers in laws and procedures. Brad Shear, Director of Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands, NY wrote about some upcoming law changes to benefit dogs in his recent Times Union blog post. Statewide, uniform training for Dog Control officers is within reach. Having consistent goal and expectations for all officers will make the life of many animals better and safer.

Shear writes:

Every municipality in New York State is required to have a dog control officer (DCO) to respond to stray dogs at large, enforce the dog license law and protect the public from dangerous dogs. There are hundreds of dedicate men and women across the state who dedicate themselves to this often thankless job, but as much as they might try, these officer have little or no training for their job.

While the state requires every municipality to have a DCO, there are currently no minimum requirements for obtaining the job and no requirements for training the officers. Dangerous dog cases aren’t handled correctly, dogs roam free because officers haven’t been taught how to capture them and cruelty case may go uninvestigated because officers do not understand how to recognize and help police prosecute animal cruelty.

Fortunately we are very close to a solution to this problem. This year the New York State Legislature passed A1657E/S3537D sponsored by Assembly Memember Linda Rosenthal and Senator Mark Grisanti. The bill requires the establishment of a standardized training program for all Dog Control Officers in the state. They would learn everything from how the dog licensing system works, to when they are legally able to seize a dog and how to appropriately handle dogs.

The bill now sits on the Governor’s desk and with the year coming to a close time is running out to get the bill signed. Please join me by contacting the Govenor and asking him to sign this common sense bills that protects the animals and people of New York State. You can call his office at (518) 474-8390 or submit an online request by clicking here. Please make sure to mention bill number A1657E/S3537D.

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