Oreo, once abandoned, has finally found a home sweet home

Oreo found her forever home June 29. Here she is pictured with her new owner, Suzanne. Photo contributed

CLAVERACK—Oreo, a little black and white dog found tied to a pole and abandoned in a Valatie shopping mall parking lot June 5, was adopted by a woman in Cohoes, Albany County, June 29.

Columbia-Greene Humane Society President/CEO Ron Perez told The Columbia Paper this week, the new owner, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Suzanne, said she could not have found a sweeter dog.

Oreo “has acclimated well. She was scared a lot before, now she is around people all the time and is doing fine,” Mr. Perez said by phone.

After being found, Oreo was taken to the CGHS/SPCA for a medical examination, which determined she is blind, and had acute ear infections that severely impaired her hearing. Additionally her coat was terribly matted, causing her pain every time she moved, according to a humane society press release.

The dog is 13 years old and weighs 14 pounds.

Her matted fur was shaved off and her ear infections treated.

“It’s clear that she is feeling so much better,” Mr. Perez said in the release.

The man who allegedly abandoned the dog, Michael A. McMahon, 69, of Kinderhook or Catskill, was arrested by State Police from Kinderhook, 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.

Crash and burn. The driver of a utility box truck was not seriously hurt after the truck he was driving rolled on its side at the edge of County Route 27 in Taghkanic and caught fire, July 1 at 12:41 p.m. Columbia County 911 called Churchtown firefighters and the Community Rescue Squad to the scene at 1380 Route 27. Taghkanic firefighters responded to provide mutual aid. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigated. The squad took the driver to Columbia Memorial Hospital. Fire officials reported that the fire was contained to the engine and cabin compartments. Firefighters were back in service at 2:40 p.m. Photo by Lance Wheeler

Stay safe on ‘staycations’

ALBANY—Although U.S. travel restrictions are easing as more individuals get vaccinated, people are still opting out of long distance vacations and instead will choose “stay-cations,” or “stay close-to-home vacations,” as they adjust to a more post-pandemic lifestyle.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the lifting of the mask mandate and curfew for all New York residents. As a result, many are anxious and willing to get back to normal. The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) reminds residents to practice safety on a “staycation” by taking extra precautions to prevent fires, injuries and exposure to Covid-19.

“We understand people have been cooped up for several months and may need to take a break to benefit their mental health. Whether your family decides to rent a home or cabin, set up camp at a local site or make your backyard an oasis, fire safety is paramount,” FASNY President John Farrell said in a press release.

Renting a home or Airbnb

“If you decide to rent a home or cabin, families need to make sure there are working smoke detectors and CO2 alarms throughout the house,” Mr. Farrell said in the release. According to a 2019 study by the NFPA, three of every five home fire deaths resulted from homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or smoke alarms that weren’t working (17%). In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.

Further, families may be unfamiliar with the layout of a vacation rental property and may not know the best way to exit in an emergency. Once a smoke detector sounds, there may be less than two minutes to get out safely. Practicing an escape plan will ensure that each person is as prepared as possible. Since most fatal fires happen between midnight and 8 a.m., it is important to be prepared before the emergency occurs.


Camping is an enjoyable summer pastime. Before building any outdoor fires, time should be taken to learn how to build one safely, how to control it and how to extinguish it properly. According to the U.S. Forest Service (USDAFS), four out of five forest fires are started by people. Campers should always check with park rangers and local officials to see if campfires are permitted, especially during the summer when vegetation is dry.

Backyard staycation and BBQ safety

“A barbecue is a great way to cook for the family. Yet, people must exercise caution and keep the grill well away from structures and where people are playing or walking,” Mr. Farrell said.

According to the NFPA, children under five accounted for an average of 39% of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when a child bumped into, touched or fell on the grill or hot coals. Grills should be kept in open areas and be cleaned to prevent grease fires.

Pool safety

Swimming pools are perfect for cooling off in the summer sun. Even though they are fun for the whole family, it only takes a moment for a child (or adult who cannot swim) to drown. All people with pools should make water safety a priority.

Children should never be left unattended near water and proper fencing should be installed to prevent an accident. When playing in or near a pool, someone should always be watching vigilantly. It only takes a moment.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission states that drownings are the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4 years old. Residential locations made up 71% of the reported fatal drowning incidents.

“On behalf of all of FASNY, we wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe summer,” said Mr. Farrell.

For more information visit www.fasny.com.

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