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Group calls for harsher penalties for those who hurt animals

Animal advocates in Central New York are calling for harsher penalties for those who abuse or neglect animals, including jail time and an animal abuser registry, after a dog was left to die in a hot car at the New York State Fair earlier this month.

Animal advocates in Central New York are calling for harsher penalties for those who abuse or neglect animals, including jail time and an animal abuser registry, after a dog was left to die in a hot car at the New York State Fair earlier this month.

— Patrick Oneill was already facing multiple counts of animal cruelty when he allegedly left his Labrador retriever, Ali, in his car for more than four hours on Sept. 2 while he enjoyed the New York State Fair with his girlfriend. Ali, left in the 100-degree car with no water and one window barely cracked, died despite the efforts of state troopers and bystanders who tried to save her.

Animal advocates are saying she didn’t have to die.

“This case is just one of many,” said Shane Camp, who, along with Samantha Synowicki, has started a Facebook group calling for harsher penalties for those who abuse or neglect animals. “I'm a dog lover, and I really hate reading these stories of dogs being left in cars, dragged behind cars and/or abused in any way. In this case the fact that this guy knew he was going to the Fair and chose to bring his dog... this is inexcusable. The laws have to change to make people accountable for their actions, not just little slaps on the wrist and small fines.”

Camp, of Canastota, is a registered nurse who volunteers with a local spay-and-neuter clinic as well as a local wolf rescue center. He and Synowicki, a veterinary technician from Mattydale, have been networking through Facebook to reach out to their friends to get them to sign petitions, write letters to state and local legislators and advocate for tougher laws to prevent such tragedies from taking place in the future.

In particular, Camp and Synowicki’s group is advocating for an animal abuser registry, something state legislators have been discussing for some time.

“This statewide registry will prevent repeat animal abuse offenders throughout New York state. I urge New Yorkers to sign this petition and to contact their legislators to let them know the importance of protecting our furry little friends,” said State Sen. Greg Ball (R,C,I-Patterson), who originally proposed the legislation in the state senate. “Those who commit crimes against animals represent some of the worst kind of people, and often expand their carnage to their neighbors and the larger community. Most people can agree that the level of respect and kindness shown for animals, creatures who cannot speak for themselves, or protect themselves and are easily abused and taken advantage of, is a fine predictor of how a person will treat their peers. Violent and cruel behavior towards animals cannot and should not be tolerated.”

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