ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Amid these freezing temperatures we’re dealing with, animal rights activists are demanding the Rochester City Council take action to prevent pet owners, particularly those with dogs, from keeping their animals tethered outside all day.
At a public speak to council meeting earlier this month, members of Voiceless of Verona Street took to the podium to complain there are many incidents in Rochester where dogs are being chained or tied outside at risk of freezing to death. And they say the process to report it isn’t working.
While addressing City Council members, Maggie Cain, who’s a leader with Voiceless of Verona Street urged them to do what Syracuse and Buffalo have already done with implementing an anti-tethering law.
“That would prevent people from leaving their dogs chained up in the snow, rain, or tied to objects,” Cain said. “We want to make sure these animals have a voice and they’re not left out in horrible weather.”
With or without this specific legislation, Cain and other activists complain Rochester needs to build up a stronger response team to guide people on where to report animal abuse and enforce the laws. In a statement, Mayor Malik Evans office said they have five officers on duty. But last year they received anywhere from 370-800 calls monthly.
“The city is budgeted for five, we don’t know for a fact if five are employed, that is part of the problem,” Michael Lohr told us. “We’re very short on those and if five can be supported by the city’s budget we hope they would be.”
“We have a lot of incidents of cruelty in our city that doesn’t get looked at,” Cain added. “Because they are overwhelmed, we do not have our own city cruelty investigative team.”
When logging onto the City of Rochester’s Animal Control website, it states intentional animal abuse should be reported by dialing 9-1-1, or 3-1-1 for animals trapped or in distress. But there’s only one officer assigned to the east side of the city and another to the west side. Sometimes, only one overall is on duty according to their page.
“There are so many calls coming into 3-1-1, 9-1-1, Lollipop Farm, the Police Department, they can’t get to them all,” Lohr complained. “If we had all five of those animal control officers active and responsible then not as many animals would be suffering.”
Since these complaints were first brought up, Councilman Jose Peo, has submitted legislation. But in an email to News 8, he told us the bill “has yet to make it out of the City’s legal team possession” before it can be voted on.
Mayor Evans Office added Animal Control Officers by law are not empowered to enforce animal cruelty regulations. Only RPD or the Human Society has the power to do so. But public safety and the welfare of animals are a priority of the Evans administration.