It seems that you can’t turn on the news or browse the internet without coming across the latest atrocity in animal cruelty; dogs, cats, pets and even farm animals – beaten, abused, neglected, burned, starved and a multitude of other horrendous cruelties inflicted upon them.

To combat this we are seeing more police departments either training forces to deal with just this type of thing or at least training officers in what to be on the look out for. This is the case in Renessler County, New York.

“You can’t turn the news on these days without seeing some horrible picture of animal abuse right here in our area,” says Rensselaer County District Attorney Trish DeAngelis.

Now, a local task force in one county is teaching officers how to spot the signs of animal cruelty.

With the rash of local animal cruelty cases on the rise, law enforcement officers in Rensselaer County are learning what to look for, to prevent future cases. That county has been no stranger to such cases lately:

  •   In August, a Hoosick Falls man was arrested for throwing a kitten down a storm drain.
  •   And in June, police say a Rensselaer County man threw a cat into a wall.

Wednesday’s teachings for law enforcement came from the county’s new “Animal Protection Coalition.” NEWS10’s Dori Marlin brings us more on their lesson.

The treatment of animals was the subject of class at Hudson Valley Community College Wednesday. The students: law enforcement officers in Rensselaer County.

“Since we started the coalition against animal abuse a few months ago, we have had so many calls just from local law enforcement officers,” DeAngelis says.

So now, the D.A.’s newly-formed coalition is returning the call, offering training for officers on exactly what they should be looking for to prevent cases of animal cruelty.

“One of the big problems is, for years, the police did not receive any training,” says Sue McDonough, with the NYS Humane Association.

“It’s extremely important because just like child abuse, they walk into a house and they see it every day – and if they don’t recognize what it is, they may just walk out,” Humane Society Executive Director Brad Shear says.

What officers are being told to pick up on:

  • When an animal looks too thin, acts afraid, or has wounds that look like they have not been treated.
  • Also, extreme hair loss or matting.
  • And the conditions of the building itself – if it has a large build-up of urine or feces.

But it is not just house pets that officers are learning about.

“We have a huge farming community in Rensselaer County – and unless you are fully familiar with different farm animals, you would have no reason to know whether or not they’re abused or neglected by just looking at them,” says DeAngelis.

However, with Wednesday’s training, officials hope others will have a better idea.

“Usually when you see (farm) animals that are starving, you will see overgrown hooves,” an instructor told officers.

“We’ve come out, been able to tell them ‘this is abuse, or this isn’t abuse’ – and in one case, we actually were able to remove some farm animals that were being starved to death,” DeAngelis says. (WTEN)

Animal cruelty is something that must be taken seriously! It’s been proven again and again that animal abuse is often a precursor to or in conjunction with other abuses and cruelties. People who can inflict such cruelties upon innocent and defenseless animal are often only a step away from doing the same to a person or already are hurting and abusing people.

We can teach the police what to be on the look out for when when are our judicial system and legislators  going to get tough and take it seriously?  Too often you see ‘slap on the wrist’ sentences. Too often this people have not learned that basically nothing is going to happen to them and with a taste for violence, who will be their next victim?!

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