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Schenectady cracks down on code violations

SCHENECTADYCrime, codes and unlicensed dogs, the City of Schenectady is cracking down on all of it this summer.  The plan is to go neighborhood by neighborhood looking for violations.  First, you'll get a warning and then a ticket.  It's an all-hands-on-deck approach according to Schenectady Mayor, Gary McCarthy who says Police, Fire, Codes and the City Clerk will be working together to help clean up the city and encourage others to consider living in Schenectady.  

There are about 15,000 dogs in the City of Schenectady but only about 1200 of them are licensed, "We think anywhere from 1/3rd to1/2 of those dogs don't have rabies vaccinations so it's a public health issue," says Chuck Thorne, the Schenectady City Clerk.  It's an issue a group of young adults, hired by the city clerk to go door-to-door will try to change.  The teens will provide information to homeowners or renters with a dog about getting it licensed.  From there, there will be a 21 day grace period to get the dog registered without a fine.  If the request is ignored, the City Clerk will begin issuing fines.  "Any money that comes from licensing dogs has to go directly into animal control efforts, our animal control is sorely underfunded in this city," says Thorne who is hoping people will comply on their own.  The price ranges from $3.50-$20.50 per dog.  

It won't just be the clerk's office out in full-force this summer, Codes Enforcement will also be walking the streets looking for violations.  "A lot of people say jeez, I wasn't aware that this was considered a code violation on my home and they're able to take care if it fairly inexpensively," says Eric Shilling, the Director of Codes in Schenectady.   He also says they'll be keeping a close eye on the 2,000 properties listed as distressed and vacant in the city along with those properties currently on the rental and vacant property registry.  

In the end, this latest initiative is part of a bigger plan to better Schenectady, one that the Mayor says will take some time to come to fruition, " We're going to continue to go after those things that decrease the value and we want to show people that there is an opportunity for homeownership and value here and we're just going to slowly make things better."