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Under one roof: Multi-county initiative for animal control re-emerges

What happens if Lassie doesn't come home and a raccoon moves in?

Usually the same person answers both calls, even if they aren't properly trained or don't have the equipment to do so.

Area animal control officers and advocates are teaming up to change this and make their services more effective and efficient.

With a meeting held Sunday, Feb. 3, there has been an official re-emergence of the Capital District Animal Control Officers Association (CDACOA) after a several-year hiatus. The group's goal is to bring together 10 counties in order to collaborate their efforts in getting lost animals back home and effectively expand animal control education and training.

It's so overdue, said Catherine Crawmer, a Sand Lake, Postenkill, and Brunswick Dog Control Officer. "We can collaborate on some of the issues and equipment. There is absolutely zero budget for animal control in the smaller townships."

The organization was actually founded in 1995 by Coeymans Animal Control Officer Richard Luck, but due to health problems, he retired in 1997, even though he is still active in the field.

"We just kind of let it get away from us," said Bethlehem Animal Control Officer Richard Watt. "This association is good for the entire area. We've opened it up to about eight counties and have invited two more."

Watt wants the association to bring together local animal control, police, veterinarians, rescue shelters and adoption kennels, wildlife rescue groups, nuisance wildlife contractors, and the state's DEC " all together under one roof.

Some of his colleagues and associates are crediting Watt with spearheading the association's re-emergence.

Any animal control officer or dog control officer from Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Schoharie, Greene, Rensselaer, Columbia, and Washington counties can be a part of the association. The group also wants to include Fulton and Montgomery counties.

The idea is to pool together all of the resources of individual animal control operations and local shelters in smaller municipalities between all 10 counties. The result will be better communication, better training, better education, better services, and more return trips for the area's domesticated animals.

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