Legislation allowing peace officers residing in counties adjacent to Putnam County to be appointed as peace officers for the Putnam County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was recently signed into law by Governor Cuomo.
The bill, signed July 16, was co-sponsored by State Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef.
“Expanding residency requirements for humane law enforcement/SPCA peace officers is critical if we are truly going to fight against animal crimes in NYS. The Putnam SPCA will now have the ability to expand its base of peace officers in order to respond to this ever-growing problem,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation which represents all of the state’s animal shelters as well as humane law enforcement.
Peace officers work alongside local Putnam law enforcement to prevent animal cruelty. Previously, state law required such officers to live in the county where the organization they are affiliated with is physically located and registered.
The Putnam County SPCA has faced a diminishing pool of potential peace officers, even as cases of animal cruelty have risen. The new legislation expands residency eligibility for Putnam County SPCA peace officers to enlarge the pool of qualified candidates with the needed experience and desire to do this work. Those residing in counties adjacent to Putnam are now eligible to become SPCA peace officers in Putnam.
“I was glad to sponsor this legislation that will bolster the efforts of the Putnam County SPCA,” said Galef. “It is important that Putnam County is equipped to deal with issues of animal cruelty. This bill will ensure qualified individuals are available to provide the support the Putnam County SPCA requires.”
“Like other municipal entities in the region, Putnam County cannot always fill important civic positions because of outdated residency requirements that remain in place,” said Harckham. “The State Legislature recognizes this, which is why we have approved this modification in the county’s laws.”
Ken Ross, chairman of the Putnam County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, expressed his gratitude to Galef, Harckham and the state Animal Protection Federation.
“This change in the Public Officer’s law will enable the Putnam County SPCA to broaden our base of talented law enforcement individuals to help us in our fight against animal cruelty,” Ross said.