ALBANY, N.Y. – A local man who police say abandoned three pit bull puppies in September, and later left several dogs unattended in a cold U-Haul for an unknown extent of time has pleaded guilty.
Anthony Walker, 31, of Albany, pleaded guilty to one Count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, an unclassified felony, in Albany County Court Tuesday.
According to authorities, Walker left four pit bull dogs unattended in a trailer for an extended period of time without proper sustenance between January 24 and January 26, 2013. As a result, one of the dogs suffered serious physical injury. Each of the four dogs were eventually adopted.
"Our primary objective is to hold offenders accountable. With animal cruelty charges we also aim to prevent the offender from engaging in animal abuse in the future. The plea in this case reflects the proof that we had established, and nothing less than a felony conviction would have been appropriate for Mr. Walker. I sincerely thank those individuals who called in tips and supported this investigation. My office will continue to aggressively pursue animal abuse and neglect cases," said District Attorney David Soares.
"I am thrilled that the District Attorney's office secured a felony animal cruelty conviction in this case. It is heinous acts like the ones we saw in this case that the law was written for. I appreciate all the work the Albany Police, Colonie Police, and District Attorney's Office put into this conviction. They all took the case seriously from the start and refused to settle for less than a felony conviction," said Brad Shear of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.
Walker will serve six months in Albany County Correctional Facility, in addition to entering into 5 years of felony probation. A primary condition of that probation term is that he not possess or reside with animals. He will be sentenced on August 13, 2013.
After both incidents were reported, there was an outpouring of interest from the community in adopting all of the dogs.
Richard Nash, one of the Railroad Puppies' new owners says Walker's punishment is not tough enough.
"I was a little disappointed," says Nash. "It just goes to show we do need to strengthen Buster's Law."
"We would have loved to see the maximum penalty and that might have been possible if it had gone to trial," says Shear. "But the problem with going to trial, it is it possible to lose."
Shear says it is remarkable how far all of the animals abused by walker have come in less than a year's time.
Nash says the next step is for the laws to be strengthened, for animals' like Hudson's sake.
"Unless we get the statewide registry for animal abusers enacted, he'll be able to get another animal," says Nash. "He should never be able to have another animal again."