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Utica animal abuse case sparks outrage

By CAROLINE GABLE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The most recent case of animal neglect in Utica is causing animal activists, as well as politicians, to speak out.

Veterinarian Dr. Frank Mondi says he thinks that animal abuse cases are more prevalent now than ever before. Dr. Mondi says that he believes part of the problem is not just the irresponsibility of owners, but the overpopulation of animals in general.

Animal activist and President of Spring Farm Cares Bonnie Jones Reynolds would agree.

"Legislation I would ask for is to mandatory spay or neuter animals ... or give a really good reason why not," says Jones Reynolds.

Senator Joseph Griffo grew up with fond memories of a large family dog, and was dismayed to learn about the latest animal abuse case in Oneida County. Griffo says he'd advocate for more education, so that kids can learn at a young age about the appropriate treatment of animals.

"Just the change of the culture that animals are companions and not property is needed," Senator Griffo said.

There are a number of bills that have come before the legislature on animals rights. Griffo is the sponsor of a bipartisan bill calling to establish an animal abuser registry statewide, with community notification requirements. So far there has not been a vote on that bill.

Griffo would also like to see Buster's Law tightened.

Buster's law addresses aggravated cruelty to animals, making it a felony charge if a person is found guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals when, with no justifiable purpose, a person intentionally kills or causes serious physical injury to a companion animal with aggravated cruelty. The law applies to pets and not hunting, fishing, or farming animals.

Images of the puppies found in East Utica on Tuesday, revealing skin and bones, has left people who live in the neighborhood where the animal was found outraged that anyone could treat a pet with such disregard.

The Stevens-Swan Humane Society expects that once the two puppies gain strength, they will continue on the road to recovery at their shelter, and hopefully some day they will find a caring home.

"Both puppies are doing a little bit better," Kraus said of the puppies versus when they first entered into local veterinary care.

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