Detecting Animal Cruelty

Detecting and reporting animal cruelty are the two most important steps in bringing animal cruelty to an end. But how do you know what constitutes abuse and how do you know what to look for? These tips can help in detecting intentional (murdering, maiming, torturing) and negligent (starving, etc.) abuse:

"WATCH" Checklist

W - Weight

Does the animal look thin or emaciated?

A - Age

Does the animal look thin or emaciated?

T - Temperature

Is the animal outside longer than a 2-hour period in less than 10 degrees F (longhaired) or 32 degrees F (shorthaired) in winter? Is the animal without shade in summer? Is the animal locked in an unventilated car with temperatures around or above 70 degrees F? (Estimated temperatures based on precedents set from past cases.)

C - Condition

Does the animal have water? Is the animal fed once a day? Is the collar too tight? Is the chain too short? Is their cage so small that they can’t stand up, turn around, and lie down? Is the animal’s living area unsanitary? Has the animal been abandoned? (no footprints leading to animal, etc.)

H - Health

Is the animal sick, injured, lethargic, or distressed?

If you answered “Yes” to ONE or more of these questions when observing an animal, you should notify the Schenectady, Schoharie and Saratoga County SPCA cruelty investigators by visiting the “Filing a complaint” webpage.

Rabies Information​

Rabies is a deadly virus that infects the central nervous system of mammals, including humans. It’s most common in bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks. Although rabies is primarily transmitted by a bite, there is some risk of infection if saliva or nerve tissue from a rabid animal gets into someone’s eyes, nose, or mouth, or into an open wound. Rabies can only be positively diagnosed by testing tissue from the suspected animal, but it’s usually characterized by changes in behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Unusual aggressiveness or tameness.
  • Excessive drooling, “foaming at the mouth.” Dragging the hind legs, mobility problems.
  • Nocturnal animals DO come out during the day. Often. This, alone, is not a sign of illness. Pet food, bird seed, and garbage can be powerful attractants. Weather changes also affect wildlife.

  • The infected animal usually dies within seven days of becoming sick. This seems like a long time to be on guard, but you also have to consider that the infected animal may have bitten other animals in the area. Not to alarm you, but it’s a good idea to stay on guard.

  • The length of time that rabies remains alive in a dead animal depends primarily on the outside temperature. The virus could die within a few hours in warm weather and could stay alive for months in freezing temperatures.

  • Yes, through an open wound or by chewing on the carcass. Have your vet administer a booster shot within five days. If your pet is unvaccinated, it must be confined for four months, or euthanized. You’re not always going to know what your pet has been up to while outside, so the best protection for both your pet and your family is for you to keep your pet current with its rabies shots.

  • Use care when disposing of any dead animal. Wear gloves. Pick up the animal with a shovel. Then bury it (deep) or double-bag it and put it in the garbage. To kill the virus, sprinkle the ground and wash the shovel/gloves with a 10% solution of bleach in water (9 parts water, 1 part bleach).

Spay & Neuter Information

There simply are not enough homes for all the animals born. It’s a horrifying fact that on an average day there are unwanted animals are destroyed in Schenectady County. This includes dogs and cats of every breed and every age. Being cute, cuddly or even a purebred doesn’t save their lives.

In order to provide a home for every animal in Schenectady County, the average household would have to accommodate a houseful animal! See how the Schenectady SPCA is working to reduce those perilous odds:

Spaying & Neutering Facts

Spaying and neutering prevent unwanted litters, help protect against some serious health problems, and may reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.

An unsterilized pet is often anxious and frustrated. He or she may pace or whine, act aggressively or inappropriately to furniture or people. He is not happy inside or out, and is driven by something he cannot understand.

Spaying eliminates uterine infection and reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Neutering prevents testicular and prostate cancer. In addition to the health benefits, your pet won’t face the danger of being in fights, run over or exposed to diseases while on the prowl in search of a mate.

The cost of sterilization is minor compared to the cost of feeding and raising litters. If all goes well, the veterinary care of the dam and her litter will be substantial – and what if things do not go well? Problems in delivery could lead to Caesarian section, lost puppies or even the loss of the mother. A sterilized pet often requires fewer vet bills and, with the reduced food intake required, is less expensive to feed!

Spaying & Neutering Misconceptions

With the right amount of food and exercise, your pet will not become fat. He will require fewer calories to maintain proper weight and should be fed less – he will be less expensive to feed! A dog’s laziness or inactivity depends on his personality and temperament.

One season is one extra risk of unwanted pregnancy. She will be temperamental, will drip on your floor, and will attract a yard-full of waiting suitors. There is no proven benefit to waiting.

When done by a licensed veterinarian, routine spay/neuter surgery is actually less dangerous than the stress and danger of complications possible in pregnancy.

If anything, they are more content with home and family and are more devoted. The “bad” watchdog would be “bad” sterilized or not.

If you think your pet should be bred for any of these reasons, visit your local shelters. See the many special, beautiful dogs and the large number of purebreds there. 70% of these dogs will be killed. There aren’t enough homes for them all. For every puppy you place, another goes homeless. Don’t add to the tragedy.

While a female dog can have two litters per year, a male could sire that many in an afternoon! He can sense a female in season within a 2 ½ mile radius and will do anything to get to her. Neutered males are far less quarrelsome and more content to stay home with you.

While a female dog can have two litters per year, a male could sire that many in an afternoon! He can sense a female in season within a 2 ½ mile radius and will do anything to get to her. Neutered males are far less quarrelsome and more content to stay home with you.

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Animal Abuse

To report animal abuse, please call our confidential emergency hotline at 518-755-9517 or click the button below.

Medical Emergencies

For medical emergencies, please contact your local veterinarian or animal control immediately.

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