rescue - resource - education


The Finger Lakes SPCA of Central New York does not currently staff a Humane Law Enforcement Officer/Cruelty Investigator. We are working to remedy that situation.

Who to Call

DCO – Dog Control Officer: The primary function of a dog control officer is to respond to complaints of dogs at large, nuisance barking, unlicensed dogs and general nuisance complaints. Additionally, most dog control officers are tasked with responding to reports of rabid animals. These laws are found in New York State Agriculture and Markets Laws, Article 7. Dog Control Officers are typically paid employees of the municipalities in which they work. 

ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER: The primary function of an animal control officer is the same as that of a dog control officer; however, the employing city/town/village has extended enforcement powers applied to dogs to now be applied to all animals, such as companion animals, domestic animals, livestock and wildlife. For further information, please contact your town supervisor. Animal Control Officers are typically paid employees the municipalities in which they work.

RESOURCE/RESCUE/EDUCATION OFFICER:  The Finger Lakes SPCA of Central New York’s RESCUE/RESOURCE/EDUCATION OFFICER will be available to make initial contact with complainants with respect to issues of neglect and abuse. Depending on the Officer’s initial assessment, complaints will be immediately referred to local law enforcement agencies, e.g Cayuga County Sheriff, New York State Police or Auburn Police Department for investigation and charging.

Please note that local law enforcement (Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and Auburn Police Department) are required by statute to enforce animal cruelty laws, investigate and charge.  The Finger Lakes SPCA of Central New York’s Rescue/Resource/Education Officer functions as a resource for these formal law enforcement entities. Call 315-294-0397 to reach the Rescue/Resource/Education Officer.  The Finger Lakes SPCA of CNY’s RESCUE/RESOURCE/EDUCATION OFFICER is an unpaid volunteer.

New York State Police - Auburn  |  (315) 255-2766

New York State Police - Wolcott  |  (315) 594-8071

Cayuga County Sheriff |  (315) 253-1222

Auburn Police Department  |  (315) 253-3231

When to Call a Dog Control Officer

  • Stray dogs or dogs at large

  • Dog bites

  • Excessive barking

  • Rabid dogs - possible rabies

  • Sick and injured

  • Licensing issues

  • Dog Control/Animal Control Contacts

Confused about who to call? You're not alone. Want to know who your dog control officer is? Click here to see our list of townships by county.

Additional Helpful Links:
Domestic Violence Animal Shelter Database

Common Complaints

Most common animal related offenses fall under either dog control, animal cruelty or environmental conservation law. These laws are covered in the below links:

New York State Agriculture & Markets, Article 26 – Animal Cruelty

New York State Agriculture & Market Article 26A – Pet Dealer Law

New York State Environmental Conservation Law

Pet Breeder/Dealer – Agriculture and Markets, Article 26-A

General Animal Cruelty – Agriculture and Markets – Article 26 – Section 353

Please remember that in ALL CASES, Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, NYS Police and Auburn Police Department are required by New York State statute to investigate these complaints and charge when and where appropriate. Please contact these offices directly (the phone numbers are listed above).

The Finger Lakes SPCA of Central New York RESCUE/RESOURCE/EDUCATION OFFICER may/will refer to appropriate local law enforcement when and where appropriate.

Dog Shelter

New York State law requires that all dogs kept outside for any period of time MUST have a minimum standard of shelter. A dog kept outside during inclement weather must have a dog shelter consisting of six required elements:

·       Four walls including a door

·       Waterproof roof

·       Raised floor

·       Flap on the door

·       Bedding for insultation

·       Size proportional to the dog

Pet Breeder/Dealer

Any person who breeds animals for sale, depending on quantity, may be classified as a pet dealer or breeder. This classification requires certain licensing and certifications. Often times unprofessional breeders commit acts of cruelty such as puppy mills and can be subject to enforcement by New York State Agriculture and Markets Licensing Division.

Animal Cruelty

Aggravated cruelty is any act resulting in pain and suffering which was done in a sadistic and/or depraved manner, or any act of cruelty which results in death


File a Complaint

Help Stop the Abuse... Report Cruelty and Neglect!!

If you witness an act of cruelty/neglect against an animal, please file a report. Companion animals and farm animals are protected by law from cruelty, abuse and neglect in New York State.

The recently enacted Buster Law makes it a felony to intentionally hurt or kill a companion animal or fail to provide food, water, shelter and necessary veterinary care.

Your name and phone number are required. This information will not be given out. It is for the purpose of contacting you to acquire more information.

NOTE: It is illegal to intentionally make a false statement. Please don’t use the legal system as a tool for neighbor disputes. Please call 315-294-0397 and leave a voice message.

No one will contact you unless additional information is required. However, if your complaint is incomplete and requires additional information, the response can be delayed for a significant amount of time. Please be assured that if you have a left a message that your concerns will be addressed as soon as possible.

The Rescue/Resource/Education Officer is a volunteer and is not supported in any way by tax payer dollars. If the situation you are complaining about requires immediate attention, please contact the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Department, the New York State Police or the Auburn Police Department.  They are required by New York State law to investigate allegations of cruelty/neglect and charge when and where necessary. Please note that we are unable to share information about cases that are in progress.

 Again, if you are calling with a complaint, please have the following information available:

·       Date(s) of incident(s)

·       Caller’s information including name, address and phone number

·       Address, including house number, where the cruelty/neglect is taking place (with directions).

·       The name (if known) of the person(s) that the complaint is against.

·       A description of the abuse with as much detail as possible.

·       Any additional information that you believe will help us