Wednesday is New York State Animal Advocacy Day. A number of groups will be at the state Capitol pushing for stronger cruelty laws. Across the region Tuesday, law enforcement and animal advocates were trained on the current laws. As Iris St. Meran explains, the goal is to improve investigations, and aid prosecution.
OSWEGO, N.Y. -- It's a story reported more often: animals being abused or neglected. Although the animals are removed from a particular situation, the next challenge is prosecution.
"Animals can't speak for themselves. They can't tell us who beat them, who tortured them. So, really, we have to rely on gathering physical evidence that we can to prosecute the case," said Gregory Oakes, the Oswego County district attorney.
Oakes said often times, law enforcement officers don't always know what evidence was important to gather. Tuesday, his office held a training session for those on the front lines.
"Part of this is looking at what other tools are available, including search warrants. In the past animal control officers haven't always used, but trying to get animal control officers to partner up with law enforcement, police to be able to use search warrants to get more information," said Oakes.
The training defined the best practices of a successful investigation as documentation, use of technology, help of veterinarians, search and seizures and finding a home for these animals. A similar training session was held in Oneida County.
"They showed examples of how dogs were collared and really being collared in a certain way before they trained to be fight dogs. So you could look at this and know what was being and done and charge accordingly," said state Senator Joseph Griffo, R-Rome.
From the medical response side, knowing the signs of abuse are key to saving an animal's life.
"Just an unkempt appearance, being thin, seeing a lot of ribs, hip bones, things like that. They're tied outside with no shelter, no food, no access to food or cover," said Ariane Hamblin, a veterinarian.
The laws protecting animals fall under the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Although it was a lot of information to cover, they want everyone on the same page in preventing abuse.
Although this training was for law enforcement, animal control officers and organizations that help animals, the public is also urged to be aware of the signs.
If you suspect abuse visit these links to learn how to report it:
Cruelty Investigations: (315) 454-3469