ALBANY, N.Y. - The Albany man convicted of felony animal cruelty in the case of the "railroad puppies" left court a free man after his sentencing last week, and is now living in the same home as a dog as an "exception" to his probation terms.
As part of his plea deal, 30-year-old Anthony Walker was ordered to five years of probation, during which he is not allowed to own animals, and received six months in jail when sentenced August 13th. Since he had already served eight months in jail, he was able to go home.
However, NEWS10 learned Wednesday that returning to his South Swan Street home meant he is now living with a dog - his mother's dog "Bella" - despite his ban to own pets.
The judge allowed Walker to live with Bella, a note which was handwritten into the court order as an "exception."[See full court order below.]
NEWS10 also found Wednesday that Walker never registered for the County Animal Abuse registry, so he has already violated his probation.
This is a new development; at the time of the sentencing District Attorney David Soares said Walker was able to walk free, "but he can't own animals and he has to be on the registry, which is what our objective was." Under Buster's Law, Walker could have been sentenced to a maximum two years behind bars. Yet under that sentence, he would have not received probation and therefore could have owned pets as soon as he got out.
Soares said, at the time, this was a better option to keep animals out of Walker's hands.
Walker pleaded guilty to charges that intentionally abandoned three pit bull puppies on Albany railroad tracks in September 2012 knowing they were all physically injured. Two of the puppies, Hudson and Pearl survived, while a third died.
Authorities say Walker left four pit bull dogs unattended in a U-Haul trailer for an extended period of time without proper sustenance in January 2013. As a result, one of the dogs suffered serious physical injury. Each of the four dogs were eventually adopted.