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Lewis sheriff establishes animal control committee, officer

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LOWVILLE — The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department is getting more dogged in its approach to animal cruelty enforcement.

“To me, it’s just the right thing to do for the people,” first-year Sheriff Michael P. Carpinelli said.

During last year’s campaign, Mr. Carpinelli said he was approached by Roger M. Burriss, dog control officer for 15 of the 17 Lewis County towns, about developing a more coordinated approach to animal cruelty cases. “I said, ‘If I get in, I’ll honor that and get a committee together,’” the sheriff said.

That led to formation of an animal control coordinators committee — consisting of local dog control officers and representatives of the Sheriff’s Department, the Lewis County Humane Society and Countryside Veterinary Clinic — that meets every other month to discuss any outstanding issues.

Sheriff Carpinelli also has designated Deputy Raymond Ortlieb as animal cruelty officer and, earlier this year, sent him to a training session on animal investigations sponsored by the New York State Humane Society. The training was offered free of charge, aside from small incidental costs such as meals, the sheriff said.

It will give Deputy Ortlieb “another tool in assisting the community in regards to concerns for the animals,” he said.

Animal-related complaints that require immediate attention still will be handled by the closest available officer if Deputy Ortlieb is not working, Sheriff Carpinelli said.

However, most such cases likely will be assigned to him to handle during his regular shifts, the sheriff said.

Deputy Ortlieb has been working closely with Mr. Burriss and Heath L. Ash, dog control officer for the towns of Lowville and Martinsburg, to help ensure that animal cruelty complaints are handled properly and in a timely fashion, Sheriff Carpinelli said.

“He’s been very good about it,” the sheriff said.

The local dog control officers “do a fantastic job with the limited resources in which they have to operate with,” Sheriff Carpinelli said.

However, they are not authorized to conduct criminal investigations or issue tickets for animal cruelty and related offenses, hence the need for law enforcement participation, he said.

Residents are advised to dial 911 for all emergency calls, but non-emergency complaints may be filed with dispatchers by calling 376-3511.

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