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SPCA forms in Schenectady County

Tully, now a Niskayuna resident, said he hopes to clean up Schenectady's animal fighting rings. He said there is an ongoing investigation of at least two dog fighting "leagues" in the county.

More commonly, though, Tully said his officers will respond to calls of animal abuse and neglect. Tully said most cases of animal neglect stem from elderly pet owners suffering from dementia or other mental illnesses.

"They often times don't even know that they're neglecting their animals," said Tully.

Tully said that beyond working with local law enforcement agencies, the SCSPCA will also work closely with animal shelters around the county.

Tully said the one problem the SCSPCA faces now though, is a shortage of start-up funds.

He's running the SCSPCA out of his Colonie law firm, using his own vehicles, and he can barely afford the expensive uniform costs for new officers.

"It's about $40,000 for training costs and about $2,800 per officer in uniform costs," said Tully.

According to Tully, the organization, which is entirely funded through donations and is not funded by Schenectady County, must raise $100,000 by June 1.

The group has raised $5,500 so far in a fundraising campaign that started in February.

"The sooner we raise the money, the sooner we will be able to work on getting the people who commit these kinds of crimes off the street," said Tully.

Tully said people who abuse animals are far more likely to harm humans.

"These people need help before they realize the potential of becoming rapists and murderers," he said.

To contribute to the Schenectady County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or for information, call 218-7100 or e-mail press@schenectadyspca.org.""

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