Newsletter Article:

Professionals Request More NYSHA Workshops

Ulster County District Attorney Don Williams

Ulster County District Attorney Don Williams

For the past ten years, NYSHA has been delivering training workshops throughout New York State on the enforcement of the animal cruelty laws.While we wish there was no need for such training, cruelty to animals sadly occurs and in so many different forms. As such, it is necessary for professionals to receive the proper training in order to respond effectively.Inundated with cruelty complaints, Carol Hedlund, Director of the Chenango County SPCA, requested that NYSHA conduct its ” Investigating Animal Cruelty ” workshop in her area. NYSHA teamed up with the Chenango County Sheriff´s Office and held a workshop on April 19 in Norwich, NY.

It is gratifying to hear police officers, lawyers, veterinarians, humane and animal control officers, and others tell us that they learned so much and want our workshops to expand.—Patricia Valusek, NYSHA Chairperson

Hedlund, members of the Sheriffs department, and a veterinarian who was attending had to leave the workshop early. A case of cruelty to horses could not wait. NYSHA Board members, Holly Cheever, DVM, and Harry Hovel, Ph.D., along with Andrea Fister, Ulster County Sheriff ´s Deputy, and Alfred Chapleau, Schenectady County Senior ADA, gave extraordinary presentations to the remaining students.

Kingston workshop speakers Sue McDonough, Dr. Beverly Blinn-Knapp, Deputy Andrea Fister, and Dr. Harold Hovel.

Kingston workshop speakers Sue McDonough, Dr. Beverly Blinn-Knapp, Deputy Andrea Fister, and Dr. Harold Hovel.

The new state-of-the-art Ulster County Law Enforcement Center in Kingston was the site of our following workshop on May 19. There was a slight change in the presenters as NYSHA´s Sue McDonough and Deputy Andrea Fister team taught, with Dr. Beverly Blinn-Knapp providing the veterinary portion, and Ulster County District Attorney Don Williams handling the evidence segment.One could feel the tension in the room as disturbing accounts of animal torture were discussed. ” Many animals are victims of domestic abuse, ” stated DA Williams, and he described one case in which a man killed his girlfriend´s companion rabbit and served it to her for dinner. Due to the commitment and diligence of his office, ultimately the prosecution won a conviction which led to prison time for the perpetrator of this heartless act of cruelty. ” Thirty years ago, we could not have won a case like this, ” said Williams.Those who care about animals are no longer the only ones who take crimes against them seriously. Our justice system is beginning to embrace the cause and NYSHA is proud to say that we are playing an important role.

What you can do: If you are a witness to animal cruelty, report it to the local police department and to the area humane society. Get the name of the person you speak with and be sure to follow up.


New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XX, No.3, Spring/Summer 2007.

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