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Man rejects plea offer in Utica animal cruelty case where six dogs died

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica man accused of starving six pit bull puppies and adult dogs to death has said no to a plea offer in Utica City Court on Thursday.

Umar Aziz faced 22 charges, including failure to license a dog, keeping a dog in unsanitary conditions and animal cruelty.

Necropsies showed some of the dogs had eaten shoe leather in an attempt to survive. A call from a concerned neighbor brought police to Aziz's Whitesboro Street apartment in early April.

On Thursday, the Oneida County District Attorney's Office extended a plea offer to Aziz, which would mean nine months in the Oneida County Jail in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of failure to provide proper sustenance. He rejected that plea Thursday morning and will not go to trial.

However, he accepted a separate plea offer of 90 days in jail on an unrelated case for a separate charge of criminal contempt.

The District Attorney says that since all the charges regarding the dogs stem from one incident, any sentences upon conviction would run concurrently, meaning that eight, one-year sentences would all boil down to one, one-year sentence.

Both sides will now prepare for the trial and Aziz is being held in the Oneida County Jail as the case progresses.

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