Prosecutors target animal cruelty with new task force

Group to discuss pending legislation
Jasper relaxes at the Animal Protective Foundation in Glenville last year. The cat was found with 17 kittens in a closed bin.
Jasper relaxes at the Animal Protective Foundation in Glenville last year. The cat was found with 17 kittens in a closed bin.

SCHENECTADY — Prosecutors statewide will attempt to take a bite out of animal cruelty this spring. 

A group of a dozen or so prosecutors will form an animal crimes subcommittee tasked with helping to improve the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases, the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY) announced on Tuesday. 

The task force is a result of years of discussion among prosecutors, the organization said.

“Our goal is to make sure that we are employing best practices all over the state and prioritizing prevention strategies in every community and educating the public about what they can do to help,” said DAASNY’s president, Albany County District Attorney David Soares, in a prepared statement. 

Officials cited animal cruelty issues, including animal abuse and hoarding, as potential gateways to more serious crimes. 

“It is imperative that district attorneys across the state take animal crimes seriously,” said Libby Post, executive director of the NYS Animal Protection Federation, in a news statement. 

Serving as committee co-chairs are Counsel to Nassau County District Attorney Jed Painter and Assistant Albany County District Attorney for Special Victims Jennifer McCanney.

More from this week: Our top stories March 9-15, 2019

Montgomery County prosecutor Jane Grinberg has also been appointed to the subcommittee.

“The group will meet on a regular basis, discuss animal crimes issues and prosecutions, as well as review and comment on pending legislation related to animal crimes,” DASSNY said in its news release. 

The announcement was made at a workshop at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society sponsored by DAASNY and New York State Animal Protection Federation. 


State Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, called the creation of the committee “a positive step for public safety and to protect our pets and all members of our family.”

“Unfortunately, there are some individuals who fail to see the value of our companion animals, resulting in animal abuse, cruelty and neglect, which occur far too often,” Tedisco said.

Tedisco, a ranking member of the Senate’s Domestic Animal Welfare Committee, was the driving force behind passage of “Buster’s Law,” the statue that made aggravated animal cruelty a felony offense. 

Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney hasn’t been designated part of the task force, but said his office has a prosecutor who specializes in animal cruelty crimes who he anticipates will be active in the group. 

He praised the concept and said he’d like to see laws amended to make them more effective in penalizing the most egregious animal cruelty cases.

The county deals with several abuse cases per year, said Carney, who acknowledged the connection between animal abuse committed by juveniles and adult criminality. 

“We have seen individuals evolve to commit crimes and cruelty to human beings,” Carney said.

More from this week: Our top stories March 9-15, 2019

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