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Police: Man inhumanely kept dogs in storage unit

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Frank Burns

— A homeless man was arrested after the Schenectady County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals discovered four pitbulls, with one dog bleeding “profusely,” without food or water in an unheated and non-insulated storage room.

Police arrested Frank Burns, 56, and charged him with animal cruelty. Also, Burns received the first ticket under the SPCA’s new authority as Schenectady County’s Animal Control Officers for not possessing licenses for his dogs.

The Rotterdam Police Department received complaints of animals being improperly kept in a storage unit at the Rotterdam Safe Storage facility located on Altamont Avenue.

Burns allegedly told police he was homeless and didn’t have any other place to go with the animals.

Rotterdam police called SPCA officers to the scene and the SPCA executed emergency animal sheltering procedures to care for the animals overnight. All area shelters were closed and there were no openings at local animal boarding facilities, according to the SPCA.

“This is just another example of the animal sheltering crisis this area faces,” said SPCA Chief Humane Law Enforcement Officer Mathew Tully in a statement. “Schenectady County needs to look at a municipal shelter like the ones in Saratoga County and the Town of Guilderland so people in dire straits have a solution aside from violating the law.”

Burns is scheduled to be arraigned in Rotterdam Town Court on Jan. 26 at 5 p.m. for the animal cruelty charge. He could face one year in jail, three years probation, and possibility a $1,000 fine for allegedly leaving the animals in the storage facility without food or water. Also, he is facing a $50 fine per unlicensed dog.

The dogs are being held at the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley and will be available for adoption on Friday, Dec. 30.

The SPCA is seeking donations to help cover the cost of veterinarian care and boarding of the animals. Donations may be sent to: Schenectady County SPCA, P.O. Box 9516, Niskayuna 12309, or made online at www.CountySPCA.org.

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