The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and Dutchess County SPCA are pleased to announce a new more extensive partnership to enhance the protection of abused and neglected companion animals in all of Dutchess County. Prior to the partnership, Dutchess County SPCA utilized its own peace officer to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect. It did so under contract to the Sheriff’s Office. Under this new arrangement, investigations into alleged abuse and neglect of animals will be conducted directly by the Sheriff’s Office, and DCSPCA will spearhead the care of animal victims, assuming responsibility for their housing and medical care, as well as providing medical and forensic evidence for the prosecution of their abusers. This will be the core function of DCSPCA’s new Saving Animal Victims with Empathy (SAVE) program.
“We are proud of the cases we’ve been able to prosecute and the animals we’ve been able to save,” said DCSPCA executive director Lynne Meloccaro, “but in recent years it has become apparent that one humane law officer working in-house at DCSPCA is not sufficient to provide enforcement throughout the entire county. With the extensive resources of the Sheriff’s Office, it will be possible to protect animals on a whole new level. DCSPCA will provide the specialized support needed for these cases, including the medical treatment and recovery of abused animals and the collection of the necessary evidence to assist the Sheriff in prosecuting abusers. Our new SAVE program will allow us to focus our effort on the care of animal victims.”
Sheriff Kirk Imperati agrees that the enforcement of humane law, and the prosecution of offenders, should be the purview of the county’s lead law enforcement agency. “People who harm animals with malicious intent are criminals just as much as people who harm people,” he said. “Cases of this sort should be dispatched through this office like other criminal cases. In partnership with DCSPCA and the district attorney’s office we will be able to provide greater protection to the companion animals of Dutchess County.”
The new arrangement will go into effect January 1, 2024.
About Dutchess County SPCA: Founded in 1871, Dutchess County SPCA is a no-kill shelter and the 3rd oldest animal welfare agency in the United States. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, DCSPCA cares for more than 1,800 animals each year, finding homes for homeless companion animals, offering low-cost veterinary services to the public, and providing a variety of resources to keep animals with their families. Through our work with Grace Smith House and Hudson Valley Hospice, we also care for the animal companions of people fleeing domestic violence, and for those in hospice care. Learn more at DCSPCA.org.