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Pushing for an Oneida County Humane Investigator

By GAR LIBERATORE

Rebecca Yoxall of New York Mills went in front of the Oneida County Legislature on December 26 of last year to ask legislators to reinstate the county humane investigator position which the county has been without since 2004.

According to an Oneida County Legislature spokesperson, no legislator ever picked up the idea and ran with it last December, and now Yoxall says she plans to attend next Wednesday's meeting to voice her opinions once again. This time, though, she won't be alone.

One of those animal advocates along with her will be Kim Strong of Utica, who formed a facebook page earlier this year called Justice for Lainey, after a 4 year old Australian Shepard named Lainey was found abused in Camden.

Strong's fight is to try and get animal abuse laws changed, but she says she will gladly be at next Wednesday's meeting with Yoxall.

"I don't care if you're an animal lover or not, nobody wants to see a dog starved to death," Strong said.

Yoxall says taking time to get her voice heard is the least she can do for the animals who can't speak for themselves.

"Oh, it will be heard and if it's not heard, I will be heard next month and the month after and I will keep on coming back," Yoxall said.

Diane Broccoli, Executive Director of the Stevens-Swan Humane Society in Utica says she is very glad people are standing up for animal rights and in particular, trying to get a humane investigator back in Oneida County.

"These cases take hours of time, making it impossible to bring these offenders to justice without a humane investigator," Broccoli said. "Proper training and the ability to seize animals, charge offenders and follow cases through the court system cannot be handles by local animal control officers."

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said he would love to have a humane investigator, but the funding just isn't there.

"We currently have no staffing or funding for such a position. If there is a way to come up with the funding, I would wholeheartedly embrace the idea," Sheriff Maciol said. "But without funding, we are reactionary only."

The next meeting of the Oneida County Legislature is scheduled for next Wednesday, August 14, at 2 p.m.

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