Animal advocates meet to push for stronger state response to abuse cases

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HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON -

Residents and officials from across Westchester County met in Hastings on Hudson Wednesday night to push for a new law that would strengthen the state's response to animal abuse.

Animal advocates and rescue groups met at the Riverview Restaurant to discuss ways to strengthen what they call weak state laws against animal abuse.

Organizers tell News 12 that as the law currently stands, offenders get little to no jail time for killing or abusing animals.

Kiley Blackman, founder of Animal Defenders of Westchester, says there have been cases where people only received a year's incarceration for intentionally killing a dog and six months for shooting a dog with a bow and arrow.

She also mentioned a case in which a man uploaded a video of himself kicking a cat like a football on social media - he got no jail time.

Deborah Pangle, the founder of the Cat Squad Rescue, is also fighting for harsher tether laws in New York. The law is for animals that are chained for long periods of time. Pangle says she witnessed abuse of an animal chained firsthand in Ossining.

"Syracuse just passed a tether law last week," Pangle says. "They had been fighting like Cat Squad for a long time to get this law passed with a lot of resistance, and unfortunately a dog had to die first in order to bring this to the surface."

The animal advocates were joined by Legislator Virginia Perez and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano to propose a new law that would make intentionally killing or torturing an animal a violent felony under the state penal law - punishable by up to seven years in state prison.

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