Special Services Division
Surrendering or Adopting an animal
Law regarding appropriate shelter for dogs
Information regarding Rabies
Reporting of wild animals
Protecting pets during winter months
FEMA's Emergency Preparedness Tips for Pet Owners
The town has one full time animal control officer. Calls for animal control services (use
518-439-9973) continue to increase fueled mainly by the public's awareness and concern for the
possibility of exposure to rabid animals and most recently, the West Nile virus.
Licensing & Identification of Dogs
All dogs over four months in age and any dog that is off the owner's premises regardless of age
in New York State must be licensed (N.Y.S. Department of Agriculture and Markets Law). This is to be accomplished
within thirty days of obtaining the dog. To obtain a license, bring a current rabies vaccination and
(if applicable) a neutering / spaying certificate to the town or city clerk
in the municipality where the dog resides, filling out a dog license
application (the form and instructions are available on this web site) and paying a small fee. A license obtained
in the Town of Bethlehem must be renewed once each year, due the same month that it was originally obtained. Licenses
(with few exceptions) must be on the dog at all times. Not only is this the law but it is the best way we can find
the owner of a lost dog.
To report a lost animal, please call the Bethlehem Police at 439-9973. Please note, dogs seized
and impounded are taken to Four Paws Inn (formerly Reigning Cats and Dogs), 759 Route 9W, Glenmont, NY 12077, (518) 767-9718.
When searching for a lost animal and after contacting the Bethlehem Police at 518-439-9973, please also
think about how close you live to one (or more) of the town's borders. If you think it is possible your animal
wandered into another jurisdiction, contact them as well; Albany 518-434-5091, Coeymans 518-756-2059,
Guilderland 518-861-6855 or New Scotland 518-475-0385.
Adopting or Surrendering an Animal
The following agencies and groups can be very helpful to people who want to adopt or surrender a pet. This
list is by no means exhaustive and does not constitute the Town's endorsement or recommendation (please
see this web site's disclaimer at
http://www.townofbethlehem.org/pages/includes/disclaimer.asp), there are
other groups that may be available for any and all types of animals.
A good source of information is
http://www.petfinder.com/ where web
users can learn before you adopt, search for adoptable pets and find adoption/rescue groups. You can support
organizations such as these by using charitable search sites when searching the web, one such search site is
http://www.goodsearch.com/ which has a number of these local
adoption/rescue groups already in their choices of recipients of your search proceeds.
PDF listing of almost 100 area shelters and rescue groups, click here
Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society
3 Oakland Avenue, Menands, NY
Companion Animal Placement Program
518-286-1177 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. - this is a volunteer's home phone number,
please leave a message if no answer)
East Greenbush, NY
North East Dog Rescue Connection
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Law Regarding Appropriate Shelter for Dogs
Governor Pataki signed into law a bill that requires that dogs kept outdoors be provided with a waterproof, structurally sound and adequately insulated shelter which must allow freedom of movement and normal postural adjustments. The shelter and the area immediately surrounding it must be regularly cleaned.
For more information regarding the law, please see http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menugetf.cgi?COMMONQUERY=LAWS, select
AGM for Agriculture and Markets, then Article 26 - Animals, and then Article 353-B "Appropriate shelter for dogs left outdoors."
[ Return to TOP ]
Testing criteria for suspected rabies cases changed in 2000 where only animals suspected of having rabies that were reported to have contact with human or domestic animals were tested.
NOTE: Suspected rabies exposure testing is provided by N.Y.S. DECON, Wildlife Pathology Unit, 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, New York 12054 (518-439-8017)
The New York State law regarding pet rabies immunizations has changed recently. The updated law
contains more stringent regulations than in the past, and now applies to ferrets as well as cats
and dogs. For a schedule of Albany County Rabies Clinics, please see
For more information about the law
Animal Control Officer Richard Watt continue to serve the Town of Bethlehem with compassion and kindness and a dedication to protecting our residents, their pets, and wildlife in general.
[ Return to TOP ]
By law, everyone who owns, possesses or harbors certain wild animals must report the location of the animal to his or her municipal clerk (Town Clerk's Office) on or before April 1 of each year.
List of animals
[ Return to TOP ]
Protecting Pets During Winter Months
Winter is a time we should pay close attention to the safety of our pets. Here are some safety tips to follow:
- Ingesting anti-freeze can be fatal for your dog or cat. It has a sweet taste and even a tiny amount can cause severe kidney damage and even death. If you spill some, soak it up immediately. (Clay kitty litter works well. Discard the litter once the anti-freeze has been absorbed.)
- Pets that live outdoors should be fed a bit more in the winter because they need the extra calories to stay warm. They also should have fresh water put out a couple of times a day, or consider a special bowl that prevents the water from freezing.
- If your pet goes outdoors, be aware of the temperature. Pets can get frostbite very easily on the ears, tail and paws.
- When walking your dog, check the paws to make sure that ice is not building up between the toes and that salt from the roads is not irritating the skin.
- If your dog is a swimmer, keep it on a leash around open water or unstable ice. Hypothermia can set in quickly and the dog may be unable to get out of the water.
- Before you start your car, you should honk the horn to make sure that a cat has not decided to nap in a warm spot under the hood of the vehicle.
- If decorating for the holidays, keep ornaments out of the reach of your pets. Remember that poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and other plants can be toxic if ingested.
[ Return to TOP ]