What a Great Conference! ESAPF – October 1 and 2, 2010
Some 130 animal welfare advocates from across the state participated in the Empire State Animal Protection Forum hosted by Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in Troy. NYSHA organized the event in cooperation with the Animal Outreach Club based at the college. To kick off the conference, attendees and speakers mingled at a Friday evening meet-and-greet at the Holiday Inn Express. Saturday was packed with workshops, networking opportunities, and a vegetarian luncheon. A key feature of the day was the Awards Ceremony at which NYSHA honored several individuals who had gone to extraordinary lengths to help New York State animals.
NYSHA presented Colleen Segarra, founder of Equine Rescue Resources, with an award for providing refuge to neglected and abused horses and taking a proactive role in removing them from horrible conditions. In particular, her actions in the Ernie Paragallo racehorse breeder case led to his conviction on numerous cruelty charges and his removal from the racing industry in New York. (Read the full story in Humane Review, Spring/Summer 2010.)
Another awardee was Julie Tanner of Schenectady for her brave actions in confronting a man beating a cat on a city street and in persevering in her efforts to have him arrested. When police would not act, she asked Assemblyman Jim Tedisco to intervene, and his call spurred police into action and resulted in the arrest of the man. She continues to work tirelessly every day to help animals using the Internet to bring attention to animal abuse cases.NYSHA was pleased to present Albany Police Officer Kevin Paul with an award for his thorough investigation involving a dead cat found wrapped in papers and set aflame in a snow bank. He tracked down the perpetrator and found additional cats whom the MAN had attempted to drown. The officer arranged for the cats to be taken to the humane society for treatment and re-homing and arrested the abuser who was later convicted of animal cruelty and sent to jail.
Fred Bernocke, a volunteer for the Columbia-Green Humane Society, was honored for his daily walking of shelter dogs, arriving faithfully at the shelter despite rain, snow and sleet for nearly 30 years following his retirement from the U.S. Postal Service.
Five state lawmakers – – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (then Senator), Senator Suzi Oppenheimer; Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal – – were honored for the important bills they sponsored, which are now NYS law. Provisions of the various new state laws: permitting animal care and control entities to transfer animals to duly incorporated facilities of their choice to enhance adoption opportunities; ensuring that students and their parents or legal guardians are notified of the right to select alternatives to animal dissection in science projects; providing that, when shelter animals´ lives are ended, the most humane methods are used by properly trained personnel; establishing provisions requiring that municipal police are trained in New York State´s anti-cruelty statutes, thus increasing the protection of animals.A variety of morning and afternoon workshops addressed topics of interest to those who care about and work with animals. NYSHA was fortunate to have had Dale Bartlett of The Humane Society of the United States and Mary Anne Kowalski of the Humane Society of the Capital Region address a timely topic at the opening general session: Puppy Mills and Pet Stores – What´s Wrong with the Laws and Can They be Fixed?
Various workshops followed, headed by experts in their respective fields. Topics included: dealing with cruelty to farm animals, wildlife, and exotics; caring for rabbits and birds in the shelter; making technology work for your shelter; lobbying for animals; controlling infectious diseases in shelters; discussing the challenges and pitfalls of TNR; testing the temperaments of dogs; training staff economically; and starting a community anti-cruelty task force. Evaluations collected after sessions indicated that attendees were impressed with the various workshops, as well as the entire event.
NYSHA thanks everyone for coming and knows that the day would not have been the great success it was without the help of all the speakers and volunteers and the generous support of our sponsors and exhibitors. Our profound thanks go out to all!
New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXIV, No.2, Fall/Winter 2010.