SPCA establishes force in Livingston County

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recently established a force in Livingston County with the goal of stopping animal suffering as a result of abuse or neglect. The SPCA has no immediate plans to open a county shelter, however. According to Chief Detective and Special Agent for the SPCA Dylan Chase, the mission of the force is to “serve the people and pets of Livingston County and prevent cruelty to animals through education, intervention, advocacy and law enforcement.”

Chase said state law mandates each county in New York state can have only one SPCA. “Most SPCAs have their own law enforcement unit with registered peace officers,” he said.

The newly founded organization is a force, rather than a shelter, meaning there is no specific establishment to which animals will be relocated. Chase explained a force was chosen over opening a shelter because the SPCA “did not want [its] focus to be about sheltering animals, but rather to be on law enforcement balancing the protection of animals and service to the community.”

While there is currently no plan for a shelter to be opened, Chase said this does not mean there will not be one available in the future should the community need one.

“We will still rehome animals and support animal control and the animal control shelter,” he said.

According to Chase, the force is joining with Geneseo’s People for Animal Welfare Club and the Pre-Vet Club to include students in the efforts to rehome cats before the semester ends.

“The town of Geneseo has a high population of homeless cats,” Chase said. “We are asking students to work with us to rehome cats rather than abandon them in the community.” Chase said he recognizes that some of these cats are fed and housed by students during the school year.

“If a student cannot bring their cat home with them, this is a great opportunity to leave a cat in responsible hands,” he said.

According to Chase, the programs available through the new force are about supporting people so that they can keep their pets, not to take them away from their owners.

Chase said the SPCA provides resources to train owners through The Pet Pantry, Biscuits on Wheels and a 4-0 task force that helps ensure better care for their pets. There are additional programs geared toward the younger generations.

“Our humane education outreach and our community outreach aims to create a better community for animals through the spay/neuter program and pet education,” Chase said.

Chase also addressed the submission of a county plan made from the force to the SPCA.

“They allowed us to try a new model that we believe is better to serve the animals in Livingston County and we felt that the community would be better served by creating animal welfare programs,” he said. “We wanted to think outside the box and create something that hasn’t been tried in any other community.”

According to Chase, the force is considering opening an office in Geneseo and is currently looking at possible locations. The force is also looking for student volunteers and interns who are interested in animal welfare and SPCA’s cause.