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Humane Society lends a hand with animal cruelty case



CLAVERACK—The Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA aided State Police with the arrest and seizure of three equines. On December 4, one donkey, one horse and one mini horse were removed from 4880 Route 32 in Catskill, (formerly known as the Friar Tuck Inn and Resort). The caretaker, Li Binghui, 57, was arrested for animal cruelty under Agriculture and Markets Law Article 26. All three equines were underweight and dehydrated. The donkey, named Donny, had two lacerations, one to his neck, and one to his “coronary band,” or top of his hoof. All three equines are expected to make a full recovery.

Donny the donkey was one of three equines seized by the humane society. Photo contributed

If convicted, Mr. Binghui could face up to a year in jail. Currently, all three equines are being fostered and rehabilitated at Oats’ Country Acres, Westerlo (Albany County), owned and operated by Camille McDonald.

The Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA asks the public for donations to help with the cost of the rehabilitation and veterinary charges involving this seizure. Contributions may be mailed to CGHS/SPCA, ATTN: Equine Cruelty, 111 Humane Society Road, Hudson 12534, or contribute through the website at


Hudson Police successfully apprehended El-Shamar T. Thornton, 30, of Hudson, December 27, on an active felony arrest warrant issued by Hudson City Court. Mr. Thornton faces charges of first degree robbery and first degree burglary, both class B felonies.

The arrest stems from a December 24 incident at 6:52 p.m., when Hudson Police received a third-party call about a break-in at a residence in the Hudson Terrace Apartments. Responding to the reported incident, patrols were redirected to another ongoing police call involving a male, later identified as Mr. Thornton, who was reportedly knocking on apartment windows in the vicinity, clad in only his underwear.

Upon locating Mr. Thornton, patrol officers identified him as the suspect in the reported break-in. The victim informed officers that Mr. Thornton forcibly entered her apartment, approached her, and stole her cell phone. Subsequently, he allegedly disrobed in the common hallway area of the apartment building after exiting the victim’s residence. The Greenport Rescue Squad took Mr. Thornton to Columbia Memorial Health for medical treatment.

Following medical clearance, he was processed at the police station on the above charges. He was arraigned before Judge John Connor in the City Court and was sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. He was slated to return to court at a later date.

To contact Diane Valden email

Sheriff implements innovative medical systems in jail

GREENPORT—The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has become one of the first Sheriff’s Offices in the United States to implement innovative systems to track and mitigate Covid-19 and other communicable diseases (Med-Verify Plus) and distribution of medications (Med Verify).

The Sheriff’s Office implemented these remarkable technologies with grant funding from the NYS Sheriff’s Association received through the state Department of Public Health. The systems were installed at no cost to the taxpayers of Columbia County.

The Med-Verify system uses iris biometric technology to allow medical personnel at the Sheriff’s Office to positively identify individuals in their custody prior to issuing medications or providing medical care. In addition to ensuring that the right inmate gets the right treatment, Med Verify Plus provides real-time reporting to medical staff to track incidences of Covid-19 and other communicable diseases to help keep inmates and staff safe.

Med Verify works as an add-on module to IRIS (Inmate Recognition Identification System) which was also provided to the Sheriff’s Office, as part of the grant.

IRIS was developed in collaboration with the nation’s sheriffs to positively identify inmates using the most anatomically unique, and visible biometric, the iris. The IRIS system operates on the nation’s only secure, encrypted, real-time national criminal justice sharing network, based on the iris biometric technology. IRIS enables law enforcement agency staff to positively identify criminals in seconds.

In addition to keeping inmates and staff safe through Med Verify software, IRIS improves the Sheriff’s Office capabilities to positively identify a previously enrolled inmate or offender using biometric technology in seconds, regardless of where they were originally arrested or enrolled. The IRIS biometric identification system provides quicker and more accurate identification of offenders locally, regionally, and nationally.

In a press release Columbia County Sheriff Donald Krapf said, “I am honored and pleased to join my fellow New York sheriffs, and sheriffs across the nation, in implementing these proven and remarkable technologies. Historically, law enforcement has not been the most communicative field. The IRIS system allows us to share data with the 57 sheriff’s offices across the state. Because as we know, the criminal element doesn’t stay in one place, it travels around.

“We learned that fingerprints were very exact and extremely identifiable. The IRIS system blows that away. There is no comparison between iris and the fingerprint identification. There’s no other person that walks the face of the earth that has the same exact iris. The ability to capture and authenticate information, and the speed of it is just so impressive. It’s a matter of seconds and then you have the results back and the accuracy in undeniable.”

Citing recent examples of how data and technology is working across the nation, Sheriff Krapf concluded by saying in the release, “Law enforcement today is a data driven field. We need to have this to find out what we’re doing wrong and find out what we’re doing right, and we can share the information with our community.”

100,000+ tickets issued over Christmas-New Year’s

ALBANY—New York State Police and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) announced that 106,509 tickets were issued statewide, as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over traffic enforcement period over the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. The initiative, which targeted impaired and reckless drivers, began Wednesday, December 13, 2023 and ended Monday, January 1, 2024.

The total statewide numbers are as follows: Impaired Driving 3,030; Distracted Driving 1,027; Move Over Law 597; Other Violations 78,685; Seatbelt 2,537; Speeding 20,633; Grand Total 106,509.

These traffic enforcement campaigns are funded by the GTSC, which promotes and supports participation of law enforcement agencies at the state, county and local levels in high-visibility enforcement efforts. Grant funding is intended to provide for supplemental traffic enforcement and engagement during those times of the year, like the holidays, when there is greater potential for drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs to be on the road.

State Troopers arrested 510 people for DWI and investigated 3,210 accidents, which resulted in 420 people being injured and five fatalities.

Throughout the enforcement, State Police utilized sobriety checkpoints, additional DWI patrols, and ticketed distracted drivers who used handheld electronic devices. Troopers also used both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of this crackdown in order to more easily identify motorists who were violating the law. These vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

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