ALBANY, N.Y. - Albany County District Attorney David Soares had a couple of announcements on Monday; the formation of the Animal Abuse Task Force within the county and two new Bloodhound dogs that will assist law enforcement with search and rescue efforts.
The mission of the county's Animal Abuse Task Force is to use multiple agencies tackle to animal abuse, neglect, and hoarding cases and combine law enforcement prevention efforts and public education outreach.
The task force will also 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" for abuse in the pet and animal community. The task force will also seek to address issues that arise in the rural population, such as livestock and farm animals.
Task force members will include veterinarians, law enforcement officers, the New York State Attorney General's Office, and local animal rescue shelters such as the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.
Soares hopes the task force will not only enhance the way law enforcement responds to animal abuse but also will result in having harsher penalties for perpetrators.
"We are hoping that this advocacy will draw attention and alert the bench and judiciary that these are serious offense and the perpetrators of these offenses deserve to be treated as harshly as possible," Soares said.
The Albany County and the Rensselaer County District Attorney's office also introduced two new employees on Monday: two Bloodhound puppies, named Ginny and Beckett, used to assist police agencies across the Capital Region.
The two puppies were purchased from Prickerbush Kennels in Ohio through a partnership with Rensselaer County Search & Rescue Inc., a volunteer, non-profit organization that assists law enforcement agencies. The organization trains the puppies to assist law enforcement agencies in locating missing or lost persons, identifying accelerants used in arson related crimes, and apprehending criminals who have fled from the scene of a crime. Ginny and Beckett will live with their trained handlers in Albany County and Rensselaer County respectively.