Dogs without a home in the City of Schenectady will now have an official place to go, after the city council voted on a new contract with the Montgomery County SPCA. Our Innae Park has more.
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Monday night, Schenectady's City Council agreed upon a contract with the Montgomery County SPCA, allowing animal control officers to take any seized or stray animals there. This brings the city into compliance with the state's Agriculture and Markets laws. The city has had an informal partnership with the SPCA for the past few years, in addition with the Animal Protective Foundation in Glenville. However, the latter also submitted a contract proposal to the city, and it was not accepted.
City Council President Denise Brucker said, “Montgomery County (a) had more room, and (b) seemed to be more willing at the time to have the accommodations to house the animals.” The SPCA charges $30/night for an animal’s stay, whereas APF would charge $60/night.
“The truth is, there are so many animals, one agency can’t feel the need on their own,” said APF Director of Communications Marguerite Pearson. While Pearson says they will continue to receive animals from the city, APF is still pursuing a formal contract with the city. “We’re optimistic a signed agreement will help to clarify things.”
Clarification may be needed after a divisive decision by APF’s executive director last month. Two pit bull puppies were dropped off at the Schenectady Police Station because they had diarrhea, and APF’s policy is not to accept sick animals. The puppies defecated all over the department floor, and there was talk of the director facing charges. None were filed in the end, but APF says this type of incident points to a larger problem.
“This is not a municipal facility. We don’t have the isolation space for sick animals,” Pearson said of APF. “What the city critically needs is a holding area for those eight days mandated by Ag(riculture) and Markets. Then, after the animals are vaccinated, they are safe to come here.”
Whether or not such a facility becomes reality remains to be seen. Pearson says in their proposed contract, a portion of the $60 occupation fee would be set aside to help fund a municipal shelter. However, Brucker says that is not an option at this point in time. “We are not, right now, in a situation where we’d have funding to do something like that and do it right,” she said. “In a perfect world, it would be great.”
APF representatives say if a contract is not reached with the city, they will stop taking in city animals after the year 2013.