Once mistreated dog with special needs now needs home

CLAVERACK—The Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA (CGHS/SPCA) is now looking for a home for a special needs dog named Oreo, a victim of animal cruelty.

The Kinderhook dog control officer and State Police were called by several concerned citizens about a little black and white dog tied to a pole and crying in a mall parking lot in Valatie, June 5.

After further investigation, it was discovered that the dog was abandoned, according to a press release from the humane society.

The female dog was immediately taken to the CGHS/SPCA for a medical examination, which determined the dog is blind, and had acute ear infections that severely impaired her hearing. “Her coat was terribly matted, causing her pain every time she moved,” the release said.

Oreo, pictured with matted fur and after a complete clipping. Photos contributed

State Police in Kinderhook arrested the alleged owner, Michael A. McMahon, 69, of Kinderhook or Catskill, June 18. Witnesses at the scene and the humane society helped State Police identify the suspect, according to an email from State Police Public Information Officer Trooper Aaron J. Hicks.

Mr. McMahon was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals under Agriculture and Market Law Article 26, including Section 353 (failure to provide proper sustenance) and Section 355 (animal abandonment in a public place). If convicted, he will face up to a year in jail.

Currently, the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA is looking for the perfect home for this special needs dog. Oreo is 13 years old, blind, hard of hearing and weighs 14 pounds. “She’s very sweet and loves people. All adoption fees are waived,” according to the release.

“We can only imagine the terror Oreo was experiencing being blind, deaf, and abandoned in a busy parking lot. The silver lining is that Oreo found her way to CGHS/SPCA, where we have the finest veterinarians and a committed, compassionate staff,” CGHS/SPCA President/CEO Ron Perez said in the release.

“Oreo’s ears have been treated, and we shaved off the mats in her fur that were causing her so much pain. It’s clear that she’s feeling so much better, and she’s ready for her new forever home. We’re thankful for the outstanding job the NYS Police of Kinderhook did in investigating and arresting the alleged owner,” said Mr. Perez.

For more information on Oreo contact CGHS/SPCA by phone at 518-828-6044 X 100 or email .

Appellate court upholds Van Alphen conviction

HUDSON—The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, has affirmed the conviction of Goliath Van Alphen.

Mr. Van Alphen was sentenced in 2016 for multiple sex crimes against children, according to a press release from Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka.

Mr. Van Alphen was convicted October 18, 2016 along with his co-defendants, Eugene Shackleton, William Wendover and Jeannine Van Alphen after a jury trial on numerous counts of child sexual abuse including multiple counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, a class A-II felony.

The trial lasted 12 days before Columbia County Judge Richard M. Koweek. DA Czajka and Deputy Chief ADA Ryan Carty prosecuted the case. They called the child victims, each of whom was under 11 years of age at the time of the abuse, as witnesses.

A jury of nine women and three men announced their verdict after deliberating for about five hours. Judge Koweek sentenced Mr. Van Alphen to a prison term of 124 1/3 years to life October 24, 2016. The other co-defendants received the following sentences: Mr. Shackleton, 71 years to life; Mr. Wendover, 60 ½ years to life; and Ms. Van Alphen, 50 years to life.

Chief Assistant District Attorney James Carlucci argued the appeal on behalf of the District Attorney’s office April 22, 2021. Attorney John Ferrara, Esq., of Monticello, represented the appellant, Mr. Van Alphen. The Appellate Division announced its decision June 24.

The Appellate Division previously affirmed the convictions and sentences of Jeannine Van Alphen and Eugene Shackleton.

FASNY offers July 4th fire safety tips

ALBANY—As vaccinated New Yorkers begin to gather for nicer weather, many will host barbecues and parties for the upcoming Fourth of July. These holiday celebrations can pose serious safety hazards due to an increase in fireworks use and outdoor cooking. The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) offers safety tips for friends and family to follow this Fourth of July.

Fourth of July celebrations can cause a great number of emergencies. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2014 to 2018, an average of 19,700 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. Gas grills were involved in an average of 10,600 home fires per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outdoor fires annually.

Additionally, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 2020 reported that fireworks caused an estimated 10,000 injuries and 19,500 fires annually. Between June and July 2019, 7,300 firework-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms with sparklers accounting for almost one-quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.

Help keep everyone safe by following the important tips from the NFPA and FASNY:

For grills:

*Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors

*The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under leaves and overhanging branches;

*Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area

*Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill

*Never leave the grill unattended while in use

*Make sure the gas grill lid is open before lighting it

*Always use food-approved fire starters for wood grills and smokers.

For fireworks:

*Attend a local, professional fireworks show

*Livestream a virtual fireworks show

*Use glow sticks instead of sparklers

*Resist the temptation to get close to the firing site—the best view of a professional fireworks display is from a quarter of a mile or more away

*Do not possess or shoot off fireworks on your own. Besides risking injury to yourself and the crowd watching the demonstration, you will be breaking the law

*Do not pick up or attempt to re-light used or “dud” fireworks—they may still cause serious burns or injury.

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