The Schenectady County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrested Frank Burns, 56, currently without a residence, for leaving four pit bulls without food or water in an unheated and non-insulated storage room. SPCA officers were called to the scene by the Town of Rotterdam Police Department, which had received complaints of animals being improperly kept in a storage unit at the Rotterdam Safe Storage facility at 1110 Altamont Ave in Rotterdam. One dog there was bleeding profusely.
Rotterdam police located the owner of the dogs who stated he was homeless and had no other place to go with the animals. The SPCA executed its emergency animal sheltering procedures to care for the animals overnight as all area shelters were closed and no space was available at any local animal boarding facilities.
“This is just another example of the animal sheltering crisis this area faces,” said SPCA Chief Humane Law Enforcement Officer Mathew B. Tully. “Schenectady County needs to look at a municipal shelter like the ones in Saratoga County and the Town of Guilderland so people in dire straits have a solution aside from violating the law.”
In addition to the animal cruelty charge, Burns also received the first ticket under the SPCA’s new authority as Schenectady County’s Animal Control Officers for not having licenses for his dogs. He is facing a year in jail, three years probation, and/or a $1,000 fine for leaving the animals in the storage facility without food or water. Additionally, Burns is facing a $50 fine per dog that was unlicensed. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Rotterdam Town Court on Jan. 26, 2012 at 5 p.m. on the charges.
The SPCA expects to spend thousands of dollars for the health and boarding cost of the animals that are being held at the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley. The dogs will be available for adoption starting Friday morning. The SPCA is a 100 percent, volunteer-driven organization that receives no taxpayer funding. The SPCA is seeking donations to help cover the cost of veterinarian care and boarding of these animals. Donations may be sent to: Schenectady County SPCA, P.O. Box 9516, Niskayuna, New York 12309 or made online at www.countyspca.org.
The SPCA extends its thanks and offers praise to Rotterdam Police Sergeant Ryan, Police Officer Sawyer, and Animal Control Officer Longo for their assistance in this case.