The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website can now be used to report abuse and neglect of animals, according to a Wednesday media release from the shelter.

As part of the Otsego County Animal Cruelty Task Force, known as  PETS (Prevention, Education, Training and Systems), the SQSPCA has "created website resources specific to recognizing and reporting animal cruelty and neglect, including a 'Report Cruelty' button at the top right of the website home page," the release said.

“It is important to note that while the SQSPCA is not law enforcement and, as such, cannot take action on its own, we are fortunate to have very supportive policing agencies in our communities," SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes said. "When our staff believe a report should be taken seriously, local law enforcement will, too.”

Haynes warned that, in some cases, action will not be not immediate. "There may be cases where there is not currently enough evidence of suspected cruelty to take action but for which evidence may be building,” she said.

The website also includes information and links to news articles on PETS, ways to recognize the physical and environmental signs of animal cruelty, and steps to take if one witnesses or suspects animal cruelty, the release said.

“If you would like to remain anonymous to those suspected of animal cruelty, we can arrange that,” Haynes said in the release. “However, in order for the report to be taken seriously, we do need your name and contact information to share with law enforcement.”

“The Otsego County Sheriff's Office is reminding the community that animal cruelty is a crime,” Sheriff Richard Devlin said in the release. “The state of New York has criminalized the cruel treatment of animals. However, animal abuse and cruelty continue to occur in Otsego County and throughout New York state."

Devlin said  efforts to protect animals include "education, mediation, investigation and enforcement working toward a healthy community where quality of life matters.”

PETS is a collaboration of the Susquehanna SPCA, the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department, the district attorney’s office, Leatherstocking Veterinary Group and Oneonta Veterinary Hospital.

Those suspecting animal cruelty or neglect can visit sqspca.org or call 607-547-8111 and follow the prompts.

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