In August 2013, District Attorney P. David Soares announced the formation of an Animal Abuse Taskforce.

The overall mission of the taskforce is to utilize a multi-agency response to animal abuse, neglect, and hoarding cases, as well as combine law enforcement prevention efforts and public education outreach. DA Soares has designated a felony level Assistant District Attorney from the Special Victims Unit to oversee all animal related crimes. In addition to prosecuting these crimes in the courtroom, prosecutors from the office will also play an important role on the taskforce.
 
“The District Attorney’s Office is tasked with prosecuting offenders who violate the law, and in cases of animal abuse or hoarding, it is vital to hold offenders accountable while also ensuring these crimes are never repeated,” said DA David Soares.  “By forming this taskforce it is our goal to make sure all responders are employing best practices in Albany County, prioritizing prevention strategies in every community, and educating the public about what they can do to help.”
 
Prosecutors will collaborate with medical and rescue professionals to hold trainings for veterinarians, pet store operators, groomers, and anyone else who may be the “eyes and ears” in the pet and animal community.  The taskforce will also seek to address issues that arise in the rural population, such as livestock and farm animals.
 
Taskforce members will include local veterinarians, law enforcement officers, delegates from the New York State Attorney General’s Office, members of animal rescue shelters such as the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension to aid in the rural components of the taskforce goals.

 See Something? Say Something!
 
If you suspect animal abuse or neglect, you can report to your local law enforcement agency, call the Mohawk & Hudson Humane Society at (518) 434-8128, or visit their website www.mohawkhumanesociety.org  
 
SIGNS THAT AN ANIMAL MIGHT BE ABUSED
 
Physical Signs Environmental Signs
 
• Collar so tight that it has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet's neck
• Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn't being treated
• Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
• Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
• Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
• Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
• Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
• Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
• Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
• An owner striking or physically abusing an animal
• Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
• Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
• Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
• Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements possibly with too many other animals