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Animal Cruelty Forum highlights stricter animal abuse laws

By ALLISON NORLIAN

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -  Lainey, an abused dog who died this past May. She was starved for weeks. Ian west, her owner, was given five years probation.

Three adult huskies and four puppies locked in crates on a cold porch with no food or water, in Yorkville. Their owner, Julia Westcott is facing multiple charges of animal neglect.

12 dogs found in deplorable conditions in Herkimer.

These are just a few of the many animal abuse cases committed in the Mohawk Valley, and the reason for the Protect Our Pets forum held at Mohawk Valley Community College on Wednesday evening. The forum was organized by Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi as a way to show the public local officials have noticed the increased prevalence of animal abuse and how they are combating the issue. It also gave the public an outlet to voice their concerns.

Assemblyman Brindisi is on a mission to get animal abuse laws changed on the state level, " The goal is to get some of these outdated animal cruelty laws into the penal law where they belong," Brindisi said, "So when these cases happen the judges and District Attorneys will have all proper tools to impose penalties in these cases."

Currently, New York's animal cruelty laws are hidden away in the state's Agriculture and Markets, making it difficult for judges, police and prosecutors to access and understand. Assemblyman Brindisi, an effort through the Consolidate Animal Crimes Bill, wants to relocate animal cruelty laws under the state's penal code, something that all law enforcement learn.

Brindisi said, " The different points to get out tonight is raising awareness over issues of animal cruelty, letting people know were trying to make laws tougher and giving people a voice to reach out to reps to tell them they'd like to see change for animal abuse in NY state."


Assemblyman Brindisi invited Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol, District Attorney Scott McNamara, New Hartford Animal Hospital's Frank Mondi and the New York State Director of the Humane Society of the United States, Brian Shapiro to the forum. Each person spoke of their experiences with animal abuse and belief in stricter laws.

Shapiro said, " We need to be voice for animals because they cant speak out that's why we have important laws and need to strengthen them."

The public who attended tonight's meeting were just as vocal about their feelings. Carol Aufmuth of Little Falls said, " There's a  lot of abuse and neglect out there that needs to be taken care of and not just a little slap on the hand."

Brindisi hopes to get this law back into the legislation session in January, pushed through the committee and brought up for a vote in the state legislature.

 

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