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Athletics Department Lends Helping Hand to Rescued Great Danes

By Angelina Ochoa | February 19, 2024

The University at Albany Athletics Department is calling on the “Great Dane Family” to come together to assist 22 Great Danes that were rescued from a hoarding situation, UAlbany Athletics announced in a press release. The dogs were found in January at a home located in Dutchess County, where the owner had passed away.

The Great Dane became the University at Albany’s mascot in 1965.

Photo Credit: Angelina Ochoa / The ASP

The Great Danes that were found ranged from puppies to almost two years old. The animals were found to be “undernourished and confined to a house in extremely poor condition,” read the press release.

Coaching staff at UAlbany are working to raise awareness for the rescued dogs alongside their student athletes by way of donations and other forms of support. 

“As engaged community members, we support our coaches, staff, and student-athletes to be great leaders both on and off the field. These animals need our help. It is a great opportunity to show who we are as a university by aiding fellow Great Danes. We are asking the community to come together for a cause that touches all of our hearts,” Mark Bensson, UAlbany Athletics Director, commented on the press release.

“It was heartbreaking to see this in the news. Great Danes are such amazing animals. I urge our entire fanbase to help these local organizations in any way possible so these dogs can get the proper care they deserve,”  Head Football Coach Greg Gattuso said. Gatusso has two Great Danes of his own named Blitz and Bruno.

The rescued Great Danes are being given care by various local animal agencies, including the Dutchess County, Ulster County, and Hudson Valley Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Ulster County Canines, and the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League. All organizations involved are currently taking donations, with dog food prevailing as the most urgent need. Either direct contributions can be made or supplies can be bought off of both Amazon and Chewy wishlists.

Two of the rescued dogs are currently being fostered by a student at UAlbany, while another was adopted by an intern in the UAlbany Athletics Communications Department.

“It was great to see our entire department come together to help support these Great Danes in need,” Director of Digital Content and Communications Taylor O’Connor said. “Every one of our teams participated in our social media push, and it’s been great to see some of these dogs find homes within our UAlbany community.”


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