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Oneida County cracks down on animal cruelty with SPCA partnership

By Anna Meiler

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- It's stories like Autumn's, the emaciated boxer mix found wandering the streets of Utica that led to a public outcry to better protect our animals.

"Animals truly don't have a voice and it's your standing up and being heard that is why we're here today," said Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara.

On Thursday, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente announced a $100,000 partnership with the Central New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"In 22 years of animal welfare I am going to say this is one of the happiest days," said Joanne Cronan-Hamoy, the educational director at Spring Farm CARES.

The organization will work with local law enforcement in responding to incidents, making arrests, handing out charges and taking cases to court.

"I really think working together with everyone involved, handling these cases together, again working as a team, will make a difference and that's what's important," said Paul Morgan, executive director of the CNY SPCA.

The cages at the Stevens-Swan Humane Society are constantly filled with neglected and abused dogs. The SPCA will house some of the animals they rescue, easing the burden on local shelters.

"The local police department is overburdened, our shelters are overburdened. The place for a humane investigator, cruelty investigator is not in the shelters, not in the sheriff's department, it's exactly where it should be today," said Cronan-Hamoy.

McNamara hopes this important step forward will act as a catalyst for even more changes down the road.

"I just hope the efforts we're doing in this county, in this area, will be heard 100 miles down the road in Albany because our next thing we need to get them to do is to give us some laws that puts some serious teeth into the prosecution and start making the crime that's being committed equivalent in punishment with what it should be," said McNamara.

The legislature will vote on the contract on March 12. If it passes, Oneida County will start working with the CNY SPCA on April 1.

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