Challenging Careers: More than ‘just the dog catcher’
By: Catherine Portman-Laux Posted date: April 24, 2014
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“Animal cruelty lops over into other crimes,” maintains Chief Kenneth D. Ross of the Putnam County SPCA, which handles arrests involving cruelty to animals.
By law, each community has a dog control officer who issues fines on civil charges such as allowing nuisance barking or loose animals. Criminal procedures are handled, however, by peace officers charged with enforcing state animal cruelty laws and other crimes under state agriculture and markets laws.
Formerly with the Westchester SPCA, the Putnam chief recalls a case of beaten pit bulls, which the owner claimed he had to separate when they were locked in combat. While at the scene, Ross spotted 20 “dime bags” of marijuana and handcuffed the man, who was surprised to be arrested by “just the dog catcher.”
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Ross, a recent widower, resides in Patterson. He was raised in Yonkers, graduated from Cathedral Preparatory Seminary in Manhattan and went on to attend Manhattan College, paying for his education by pumping gas. After working in security and investigation, he became a volunteer officer with the growing Westchester SPCA, ultimately heading its Humane Law Enforcement Division. He relocated to Putnam when a need for SPCA services there became critical.
Because of the demands of his job, Ross owns no animals. As he tells children about the animals’ need for constant care, “There are no switches to turn animals on and off.”
Challenging Careers focuses on the exciting and unusual business lives of Hudson Valley residents. Comments or suggestions may be emailed to Catherine Portman-Laux at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ross, Kenneth D. [MC????]
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