Animal Neglect and Cruelty

Animal neglect and cruelty are against the law.


Who to call

For Albany and Rensselaer Counties:
Call the Mohawk and Hudson Humane Society Shelter at 434-8128.

For Saratoga County:
Call the Capital District Humane Association (518) 664-1237.

For Washington County:
Call the SPCA of Upstate New York in Hudson Falls.

In case of an emergency and if one of the above agencies is not available to take your call, please notify the New York State Police, Sheriff’s Department or your local police.


For your information

The section of law that pertains to animal neglect and cruelty is Article 26 of New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.  Police agencies sometimes tell complainants that they do not deal with such cases.  They do not have a choice.  It is part of New York State Law and must be enforced.  As soon as you are able, back up your call to the police by notifying one of the above-mentioned animal agencies so they can offer needed support to the police.


What you should know about the cruelty laws

  • All animals need a sufficient amount of food and clean water.  They also need to be kept in an environment that is clean and with wholesome air.
  • Dogs kept outside need a house that is big enough for them to stand and turn around.  Ideally, that shelter will be raised above the ground to protect the animal from dampness.  In the winter, that shelter should have an outside flap and should have plenty of dry, clean bedding (straw is ideal). Blankets can easily get wet from the snow and will therefore not provide warmth for the animal.
  • If an animal is going to live outdoors during the winter, it must start acclimating by about September so it can begin developing a winter coat.
  • There are some dogs that should never be kept outside during the cold weather because they don’t have the types of coats that could keep them warm.
  • All animals need extra food in the cold weather because they burn more calories keeping warm. They also need a constant supply of unfrozen water.
  • Even farm animals need shelter.  Although the law does not specify as such, animals that are subjected to such things as freezing rain and wind can develop pneumonia.  Horses, cows and the like need at least a sheltered area under evergreen trees – if not a run-in shed.
  • Hitting, beating, or perpetrating any act of cruelty to an animal is against the law.
  • Not providing medical care to a sick or injured animal is against the law.
  • The above list is not all inclusive.  If you are not familiar with the law, perhaps this will provide you with a partial guideline to reporting suspected cases of cruelty.