Hoosick Falls man sentenced in 2020 animal abuse case


TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly announced Tuesday Joshua Mears, 31, of Hoosick Falls was sentenced to 10 months in Rensselaer County Jail following his guilty plea in connection with an aggravated cruelty to animals charge related to an October 2020 incident.

The District Attorney’s Office says Mears pleaded guilty on June 1. In addition to jail time, Mears reportedly has a five-year order preventing him from owning any animals, an eight-year order of protection for the victim, and an eight-year order of protection from the witness, as well as fines and surcharges.

Officials say Mears was indicted for intentionally killing a kitten on October 29, 2020.

“This case is one of the reasons why I drafted a local law to the Rensselaer County Legislature to include individuals like this on a county animal abuse registry,” said District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly. “The Rensselaer County legislature has the opportunity to prevent animal abusers from owning animals in the future. Unfortunately, people who have abused animals in the past are likely to do so in the future, and studies show that there is a near-100% recidivism rate for certain types of animal abuse.”

The legislation Donnelly drafted would prevent abusers from owning animals in the future.

She heard concerns that the original draft would unfairly penalize farmers in rural Rensselaer County, who would carry the burden of checking the abuse registry every time they make a sale of a chicken at a fair, for example.

Donnelly says the law has since been amended to only apply to abusers of dogs and cats. A vote on the legislation is expected July 13.

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