Since February of 2019, the Otsego County Sheriff's Office has been partnering with the Susquehanna SPCA (SQSPCA) through a special task force on animal cruelty cases which according to SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes, mostly involve hoarding cases and people unable to care for their animals for either financial reasons or mental illness. It's a problem that doesn't just require compassion for the animals and people involved but special training to deal with these cases.

Now the Otsego County Sheriff's Office has a deputy, Erika Puffer, who has completed the Level 1 training course with the National Animal Cruelty Investigations School through the University of Missouri. The Level 1 course is one of three animal-cruelty training courses related to investigating animal cruelty cases and Puffer's newly acquired skills will be used on cases in Otsego County.

According to Puffer, she has a goal of completing the remaining two levels to complete her certification. In the meanwhile, Puffer has been working with the Susquehanna SPCA on relevant cases in the county and has participated in the rescue of a large number of horses and cows this year. During Puffer's coursework, she'll learn all about animal welfare and safety including basic nutrition, basic anatomy, animal handling, and behavior. In addition, she'll learn laws related to animals, courtroom preparation for related cases, and more.

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Animal cruelty cases typically rely on reports from citizens. If you suspect a case of animal cruelty, you can easily alert the Susquehanna SPCA through their website. Just visit www.sqspca.org/report-animal-cruelty and fill out the form. It's quick and easy.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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