MHHS does not renew 16 of 21 municipal contracts
MENANDS, NY (NEWS10) – The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society has announced that a difficult decision has been made to renew only five of its 21 municipal contracts for 2023. The Society’s administration attributes the decision to significant increases in contributions cruelty to strays and animals.
“We will maintain contracts with the five municipalities that produce the most stray dogs in the region,” CEO Ashley Jeffrey Bouck said. “This includes the cities of Albany, Watervliet, Schenectady and Troy, and the city of Colony. Over the past year, the admission of dogs from these five municipalities alone has increased by more than 43% and, combined , the stray dogs of these municipalities represent 90% of the stray contributions of the Humane Society.
The municipalities that will not renew the contracts are Green Island, Cohoes, Bethlehem, North Greenbush, East Greenbush, Poestenkill, Town of New Scotland, Guilderland, Knox, City of Rensselaer, Westerlo, Stephentown, Brunswick, Glenville, Sand Lake and Schodack. .
Section 7, §114 of the Agriculture and Markets Act (AML) requires every town and city in which dog licenses are issued to establish and maintain a dog shelter, and establishes that the municipality is responsible of the dog from the time it is seized by the Dog Control Officer (DCO), or other authorized officer, until it is returned by return to owner, adoption, transfer or euthanasia. There are five ways for a municipality to meet the accommodation requirement as defined by law:
- Establish and maintain your own municipal shelter
- Join with another municipality to establish and maintain a shared shelter
- Contract with another municipality for the use of its accommodation services
- Contract with an incorporated humane society or similar incorporated association for accommodation services
- Renting kennel space in a veterinary clinic, boarding school or residence of a dog from another municipality DCO
Glenville City Supervisor Chris Koetzle said while their primary shelter is the Animal Welfare Foundation in Schenectady, they do not provide medical services. For those, they turned to MHHS.
“We’ll probably use one of the emergency animal hospitals in the community, like in Latham, but that’s a cost factor for the city because the city has to foot the bill if we can’t find the owner.”
The City of Cohoes is one of the larger municipalities that did not qualify. Animal control officer Jerry Oliver was surprised when he learned the city could not renew his contract with MHHS. He said he contacted a few boarding schools and vets, hoping someone would open their doors.
“It puts us in a delicate situation. Without them, we really have nowhere at this point to take the animals.
Oliver said he hasn’t seen a major increase in the number of strays in Cohoes, but rather more signings of people who can no longer afford their pets.
MHHS will be offering holiday discounts to try to help some animals get out of the totally full kennel.
“We have a special adoption offer until next Wednesday: 50% off all pets one year or older,” said Whitney Philippi, vice president of development at MHHS, “and I know that there are more to come after this, but we are not announcing them yet.
Philippi added that if you are unable to help by adopting, the society is looking for many volunteers and donations for its pet food pantry.
City partners are encouraged to contact MHHS or the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets if they have questions when identifying new accommodation options. As the SPCA for Albany and Rensselaer counties, MHHS will continue to help investigate cases of animal cruelty and identify cruelty housing options. MHHS thanks municipalities for their work in building safer communities for animals and people.