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Advocacy group protests plea deal in animal cruelty case

By ANNA MEILER

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Ian West of Camden pleaded guilty Monday in Oneida County Court to a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals.

West was arrested in May in connection to an animal abuse incident that resulted in the death of a dog. West was accused of leaving a dog named Lainey caged outside his home on Babcock Road in Camden, where he lived at the time. Lainey should have weighed 45 pounds when she was rescued, but only weighed 15.

West will be sentenced Jan. 27 to five years probation and community service.

Lainey's Army, an animal advocacy group that formed after Lainey died from starvation, thought it would be a day of justice, but were angered to learn the case won't go to trial. They believe probation is incomparable to the pain the German Shepherd suffered. So now the founder is going to demonstrate that pain for all to see.

Tethered to a 20-foot chain, Kim Strong will spend five days and nights in the freezing cold outside a building on Commercial Drive.

Five days represents West's five years of probation and the five weeks he starved Lainey. Strong said there needs to be tougher laws and she hopes this will send the message home.

"Otherwise I'm going to be out here in the cold for nothing and that would be a waste. Lainey will have died and it will be a waste and it can't be a waste. The judges, the district attorney, the lawyers let us down. The legal system, the laws, the legislators, they all let us down. So if we want change, if we want these animals safe, we have to do something," said Strong.

Strong will be tied outside from Dec. 11 to Dec. 14.

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