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April 2nd, 2014

This Week in Orange County 4-2-14

Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus

Pet owners understand that dogs, cats, and other animals not only provide us with the pleasures of companionship, they also humanize us in ways few other experiences can. Our stewardship of animals is part of what makes us human, in other words. We are reminded of this elemental truth once again in April, when Orange County will recognize the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month.

My administration has a zero tolerance policy on animal cruelty and animal neglect. Partnering with the District Attorney’s office, the county Sheriff, and local law enforcement, we continue to take all necessary steps to investigate and prosecute animal abuse cases. I will also continue to urge the state to enforce existing animal cruelty laws so that all animals, wild and tame, are safe from cruelty, violence, and neglect.

This is a community that cares for its pets. The outpouring of support for New Windsor’s Hudson Valley SPCA has been tremendous. Following a tragic fire that took the lives of two dogs and ravaged a kennel, the no-kill shelter was inundated with adoption requests from foster families not only across Orange County but as far away as Virginia. Hudson Valley SPCA runs entirely on donations, so the support they received in the wake of this tragedy has been inspiring as well as necessary to keep operations going. I look forward to their continuing to place pets in loving homes for years to come.

In many criminal cases, those who target innocent people with violence usually began by abusing animals: the predatory mindset is consistent. But humane treatment of animals also correlates positively with decency towards other people. Ask any pet owner and she will tell you -- a dog or cat feels like a member of the family, deserving of respect and kindness as much as any human being. This April, as Orange County recognizes Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month, please remember to report the abuse, neglect or cruelty of all animals to law enforcement agencies.

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