May 30, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces First Statewide Animal Water Rescue Training in New York this Weekend

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces First Statewide Animal...

New York Teams Up with ASPCA for First-of-its-Kind Training in the Capital Region; Media Availability Sunday, June 4

Hands-On Training Provides Lifesaving Water Rescue Skills to Help Pets in Flooding Emergencies

Nearly Four Dozen Community Animal Response Teams and Emergency Service Members across the State to Participate


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state, in partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®, is hosting the first statewide Disaster Response Bootcamp training to provide critical animal water rescue training to members of the state’s Community Animal Response Teams and emergency response agencies. On June 3 and 4, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Animal Industry Division and the ASPCA will take training participants representing seven regions across the state out on the waters of Lawson’s Lake in Feura Bush, Albany County. The course will provide life-saving, hands-on training to emergency responders, animal control officers and volunteers so they can better help pets in a flooding emergency.

"In recent years, severe and unpredictable weather conditions have become the new reality across the globe," said Governor Cuomo. "This course will provide critical animal rescue training to New Yorkers from across the state, allowing them to use what they learn to bring animals to safety in an emergency."

The weekend-long course will begin with classroom training on June 2 at the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. It continues with field training on the water June 3 and 4. The slackwater rescue course is hands-on and will cover equipment and safety, water rescue techniques, and boat navigation.

Photo opportunities and media availability for the training will take place:
Sunday, June 4
10 a.m. – Noon
Lawson’s Lake Visitor’s Center
293 Lawson Lake Road
Feura Bush, NY 12067 (signs will direct media to the lake)

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "As we’ve seen all too often, weather in the Northeast is unpredictable and can turn dangerous quickly. This training will be a big asset to animal response teams and volunteers across the state to ensure our pets are protected during times of emergency. It is a proven method and we are proud to partner with the ASPCA on this important effort."

Dr. Dick Green, ASPCA Senior Director for Disaster Response, said,
 "This dedicated animal response training is a crucial step toward keeping more pets safe during times of disaster. The ASPCA is thankful for the opportunity to work with the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets on this life-saving initiative and help local agencies strengthen their skills to further protect pets and pet owners across the state of New York."

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team frequently responds to natural disasters around the country and provides local communities with necessary funding, training and expertise to effectively assist animals during disaster and cruelty situations. The Disaster Response Bootcamp program was developed by the ASPCA and Dr. Green in 2014. It has been held a dozen times at various locations throughout the country. New York State is considered a high-priority state for the program as a high-risk area for natural disasters, including floods.

Community Animal Response Teams from Albany, Broome, Dutchess, Schoharie, Saratoga and Niagara counties are taking part in the training. In addition, the following emergency response organizations, animal shelters and state agencies are participating, in addition to local volunteer fire departments:

  • Albany County Sheriff
  • The Animal Response Project Albany and Rensselaer
  • American Red Cross
  • Columbia Greene Humane Society
  • Elmira Police Department and Elmira Animal Control
  • Erie County Emergency Services
  • Guilderland Police and Guilderland Animal Control
  • Mohawk Hudson Humane Society
  • NYS Department of Health
  • NYS Office of Emergency Services
  • Schoharie County Emergency Services
  • Yates Country Emergency Management

The Albany County Sheriff’s Office and Albany County Executive’s Office are assisting with logistics of the training. The Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Homeland Security and the Albany Rowing Center have donated equipment and are loaning their boats to the Department and the ASPCA for the exercise.

Dr. David Smith, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets State Veterinarian, said, "Animal safety is one of our top priorities and this training program is a great way to improve the state’s ability to keep our pets safe. By combining classroom instruction and hands-on training, this boot camp is a comprehensive approach to emergency preparedness. I look forward to working with the ASPCA on this first-ever training in New York State."

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, "I am pleased that we could help the ASPCA and Department of Agriculture and Markets as they offer this rescue training for first responders. This training will provide the tools needed to respond to weather-related emergencies. We have experienced the need for such rescues right here when we were hit by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee."

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said, "We have an abundance of open water in Albany County that our agency routinely patrols. This type of animal water rescue training offered by NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets and the ASPCA will better prepare our first responding Deputies and CART for an incident of this type. For this reason I am very pleased to partner and assist with providing equipment and logistical support."

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

The Department, through its various divisions and programs, promotes New York agriculture and its high-quality and diverse products, fosters agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguards the State’s food supply, land and livestock to ensure the viability and growth of New York’s agriculture industries. The Department’s Land and Water Division works to protect New York's land and water resources through farmland protection, farmland conservation, and proactive environmental stewardship.

The Department operates the Great New York State Fair, and administers the Taste NY initiative, the FreshConnect and New York State Grown and Certified programs. Follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office