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Dog control resolution prompts official response in Schuyler

The Schuyler County Legislature will vote next week on a resolution to eliminate the County’s animal control officer position; and it’s prompted an official response.

The proposal comes after the towns of Catherine, Montour, Dix, Hector, Reading, and Tyrone did not renew their contracts for dog sheltering with the Humane Society of Schuyler County.

It means that dogs from these communities will no longer be brought to, or held, at the Humane Society.

New York State law mandates each town provide dog control and sheltering services, either directly or through contract.

The Humane Society has provided sheltering, care and adoption services for the stray, abandoned, seized and surrendered dogs of Schuyler County since August 2009 and the sheriff’s office has provided dog control services through an Animal Control Officer with the additional support of sheriff’s deputies.

It appears as though the communities involved will be contracting with a new organization to lead these efforts.

“We are deeply saddened by the decision the towns have made to contract with another sheltering provider,” said Georgie Taylor, Executive Director of the Schuyler County Humane Society. “We committed in 2012 to creating a facility this community would be proud of, offering the highest level of care possible, and funded by many local residents who expected that we would be the primary caregiver of lost, seized and abandoned animals in this county. Over the past ten years, more than 80% of the stray dogs arriving at the shelter have been returned to their owners. For more than 30 years, this organization has been committed to advancing animal welfare in our community. Given this unfortunate decision, we will no longer be able to help those animals who need us most, those who often require the greatest medical attention, and those who have come from some of the most difficult situations. We are, however, grateful to have served those animals in need and to have saved so many lives. We would like to thank our staff, volunteers, donors and the community for their support during this period of transition. We would also like to thank the Sheriff’s Department and the Schuyler County Legislature, the County Administrator and the Department of Public Health for their support in advancing animal welfare over the past ten years.”

Monday afternoon, Schuyler County Administrator Timothy O’Hearn released the following statement on behalf of Schuyler County:

“Schuyler County has been a leader in shared services long before this term became a popular buzzword. Dog control is one of the few mandated responsibilities that rests with town governments. However, with cooperation among the towns and county, it was deemed far more efficient to provide this service by partnering to do so.

Recently, however, the towns of Catherine, Dix, Hector, Montour, Reading and Tyrone, without discussion or input from the County, made the decision to contract with a private entity to provide this service instead of the County. While we strongly disagree with this action, we must respect the towns’ right to do so.

As such, effective July 1st, Schuyler County is no longer able to provide dog control services to these towns and will be referring any calls received to the new provider of this service. Additionally, the County has determined that it no longer is feasible or cost effective to provide service for the towns that have not elected to change at this time (Orange and Cayuta) and will be voting at its July meeting on a resolution to terminate agreements with all towns effective in early August.

Please understand that the County Legislature regrets having to take this action. Centralized dog control was one of our earliest success stories and we have been recognized as a model among the state for this town/county partnership. We’re it up to us, no changes in service would occur.

All dog related questions and concerns should be directed to your respective town representatives. A list is below:

Town of Catharine – John VanSoest, Office 594-2273, Cell 220-6153 email: [email protected]
Town of Cayuta – Brandon Theetge, Office 594-2507 email:
Town of Dix – Harold Russell, Office 535-7973, Cell 481-8663 email: [email protected]
Town of Hector – Alvin White, Office 546-5286 ext. 225 email: [email protected]
Town of Montour – David Scott, Office 535-9476 email: [email protected]
Town of Orange – Joanne Randall, Office 962-2978 email: [email protected]
Town of Reading – Gary Conklin, Office 535-7459 ext. 103 email: [email protected]
Town of Tyrone – Donald Desrochers, Office 292-3185 email: [email protected]