Ulster County legislator, New Paltz cable access chief team up to encourage dog adoptions from SPCA

Nov. 20, 2014

Patricia Doxsey, Daily Freeman

TOWN OF ULSTER >> An unabashed dog lover, Ken Wishnick found himself becoming upset every time he saw a television commerical depicting abandoned, abused animals left to languish unloved in a shelter.

But the Ulster County legislator and owner of a rescue dog of his own didn’t want to just send a check.

“I decided I wanted to do something,” said Wishnick. “I wanted to help dogs that are abused or abandoned find good homes.”

A few months ago, the New Paltz resident teamed up with Bob Fagan, the owner of USIA Video and the public access director for New Paltz, to create a show featuring the dogs of the Ulster County SPCA waiting for their “forever homes.”

Called “Rescue Me,” the-half-hour segment, filmed monthly at the Weidy Road shelter off Sawkill Road in the town of Ulster, features four dogs available for adoption at the SPCA, and offers tips from veterinarians, a dog trainer, and others about animal care.

A segment in October featured Nathan, a two-year-old pit bull terrier, Mary Jane, a seven-year-old beagle, Earth, a three-month old mixed breed puppy, and Dutchess, a nearly three-year-old Mastiff.

The segment also featured a piece on canine dental care and dog walking.

“It’s very positive, it allows us to showcase our animals in a form that their not usually seen,” said Adam Saunders, executive director of the Ulster County SPCA.

As a result of the October showing, Mary Jane and Earth were both adopted, shelter officials said.

In fact, since the first show, 12 of the 16 dogs featured have found their forever homes.

Nathan and Dutchess were among 12 dogs recently available for adoption.

As of October, the shelter was housing another 50 or 60 dogs that were either waiting to be cleared by a veterinarian for adoption or were being held pending humane law enforcement proceedings against their owners.

“Rescue Me,” is aired multiple times each month on New Paltz public access television as well as other public access stations throughout Ulster County.

Additionally, the segments can be viewed online at saveadog.info.

UCSPCA seizes dogs, rabbits from Rosendale home

Nov. 20, 2014

Daily Freeman

ROSENDALE >> Seven dogs and three rabbits — many suffering from respiratory infections, emaciation, overgrown nails and severe matting — were removed this week from a home in Tilson, according to the Ulster County SPCA.

Hussey faced similar charges in 2012 in Rennselear County following the removal of 26 small-breed dogs from her home there, the Ulster County SPCA said.

Acting on a tip from the Rosendale police and believing Hussey was once again hoarding animals in a dangerous environment, SPCA Investigator Glenn Daniels obtained a search warrant for the residence.

According to shelter medical staff, the symptoms exhibited by the animals are consistent with animals housed in a substandard environment.

Hussey is to be arraigned Tuesday in Rosendale Town Court.

SPCA chief backs proposed Ulster County law limiting tethering of dogs

October 15, 2014

By Patricia Doxsey, Daily Freeman

KINGSTON >> Two people, including the head of the Ulster County SPCA, voiced their support Wednesday for a proposed local law that would set strict regulations on how and when dogs in Ulster County can be tethered outdoors.

At a public hearing before the Ulster County Legislature, Adam Saunders, the executive director of the SPCA, said the law will allow his agency to respond to daily complaints of dozens of dogs tethered every day across the county and force people to rethink the way they care for them.

“A law such as this would almost present a cultural shift,” Saunders said.

But, he warned, the law would come with some financial consequences for the privately funded nonprofit agency.

“The volume of cases that may be coming into the local courts may be very high,” he said.

He urged county officials to consider allocating some of the fine monies collected to agencies like the SPCA, that will be forced to take in dogs removed from their owners.

Saugerties resident Rebecca Thompson also urged legislators to enact the law, saying a neighbor kept as many as six dogs tied up outside for days, and the only thing law enforcement officials could do was cite him on a noise complaint.

The dogs, she said, are outside all the time. “The dogs never get walked, they never get played with, they never go in the house.

“It’s really quite sad,” said Thompson.

If adopted, the law would outlaw the use of choke or pinch collars on dogs that are tethered outdoors and would require that dog leads be at least 10 feet long, or five times the length of the dog, whichever is greater.

It would be illegal under the proposal to tether puppies under the age of six months outdoors, and all other dogs could be tethered for no more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period.

The law would prohibit dogs from being tethered outdoors if the temperature drops below 32 degrees or rises above 80 degrees, or in the event of thunderstorms, ice storms, snowstorms, high winds or any National Weather Service-issued weather alert or storm warning.

A proposed amendment to the law would exempt owners who tether their dogs for less than 15 minutes in public locations. If the law is approved in legislative committees, a public hearing on the amended law would have to be held before lawmakers can vote on it.

Ulster County SPCA see trio of animal cruelty cases resolved

October 7, 2014

By Diane Pineiro-Zucker, Daily Freeman

The executive director of the Ulster County SPCA is celebrating the end of what he described as “one of the most heart-wrenching animal cruelty cases in recent memory” in a recent post on the organization’s Facebook page.

Adam Saunders wrote Friday that the case involving an elderly Wawarsing woman and her daughter was “heart wrenching, not only for the sheer volume of animals, but for the human cost, a cost that frames a problem without any easy answers.”

In February, the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals charged Helen Deschambeault, 86, and her daughter, Joan Radinoff, 61, with animal neglect after seizing 42 cats “out of a home saturated in fecal waste and urine, and mountains of human refuse,” Saunders wrote.

“The place was disgusting. Nobody should live there, people or animals,” Saunders said Tuesday.

The two woman faced similar charges in 2009.

Since the February seizure, Deschambeault and Radinoff had obtained another 12 cats, all of which were removed on Sept. 17, he said. The cats removed in September were in “OK shape” but all suffered from respiratory problems, “which was the result of living in that house,” according to Saunders.

Last week, the two women pleaded guilty to single counts of failure to provide sustenance and agreed to a conditional 12-month discharge under the condition that they will not live with or harbor any animals for one year, he said.

In response to a plea from the defendants that they were particularly fond of two of the cats, Wawarsing Judge Wayne Lonstein asked the SPCA to place the two cats in foster homes for one year, Saunders said. After 12 months, the SPCA will return the cats to Deschambeault and Radinoff “should they manage to clean the house up,” Saunders said.

The SPCA will be allowed to visit the Wawarsing home twice in the next 12 months to determine if the women are in compliance with the judge’s order, Saunders said, adding that he doubted the pair would be able to remedy the situation sufficiently to allow for the return of the two remaining cats.

Another animal cruelty case was resolved on Sept. 23, when Richard Stumer of the town of Ulster pleaded guilty to one count of failure to provide sustenance.

Stumer was charged on July 17 with failure to provide sustenance to 22 cats at his home at 92 Vincent St.

In the Stumer case, Saunders said, all of the cats were surrendered and Stumer was granted a one year conditional discharge, with the SPCA conducting four visits to the home during that time. Stumer was ordered not to own or live with any cats for 12 months, Saunders said.

The court granted Stumer custody of a 15-year-old dog “with a lot of health issues” who was also seized in July, because he didn’t want the dog to die at the SPCA. He was allowed to keep it as long as he continues to provide treatment for the animal’s medical conditions and establishes a relationship with a veterinarian.

Stumer “agreed without hesitation” to the stipulation that, if he fails to care for the dog, he will be sent to the Ulster County Jail for 30 days, Saunders said.

Another animal cruelty case also had a somewhat happy ending this week after all but four of 25 horses seized in May from Constance Dirago of Plattekill were placed in new homes by a horse rescue group, Saunders said. The remaining horses are awaiting placement, he said.

Three of the 25 horses in Dirago’s care at the time of the seizure were returned to their original owners.

Ulster Co. SPCA Holds Final Part to “Summer Series Fundraising and Awareness”

Oct. 5, 2014

Time Warner Cable News

KINGSTON, N.Y. — Members of the Ulster County SPCA rolled out the red carpet Sunday, as part of their final “Summer Series Fundraising and Awareness” event Sunday.

The festivities included a dog show and contest, showcasing some of the animals that people can adopt from the shelter.

The sound of music was also in the air, with performances from local bandleader Michael Dell.

Organizers say they’re working their hardest to try and improve their own facilities at the Ulster County SPCA shelter.

“I went to the other facilities in the other counties and they are, they’re giant, they can handle a lot of animals that are stray whereas this facility is very small, doesn’t have the capacity to handle a lot of animals, so that’s why we’re trying to make room with adoptions today,” said Michael Delvecchio, Ulster County SPCA Runway Adoption organizer.

The Ulster County SPCA also held an auction to allow bidders to apply for an application to buy one of the dogs on display.

To learn how you can help the Ulster County SPCA, visit www.uspca.org