SAND LAKE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Christopher Spencer, 57, of Averill Park is accused of killing a dog and leaving it along a stretch of road in Sand Lake. The dog, which New York State Police described as an older German shorthaired pointer, was found dead from a gunshot wound.

The body of the dog was found near the power lines off Stewart Lane on March 4. Police said the dog died from a gunshot wound, and investigators said Spencer was the one who shot and killed it. He was charged with Section 353a of the Agriculture and Markets Law—aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a felony. In his Monday night court appearance, Spencer pleaded not guilty. His next court date is scheduled for May 9 at 5 p.m.

On March 15, before Spencer was arrested, the New York State Humane Association offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. “If you needed to put the dog to sleep, you would take him to a veterinarian and provide him with a humane death,” said Patricia Valusek of the New York State Humane Association. “Not do this [shooting the dog]. I have no idea what drives people to do what they do, but that’s why we put out the rewards—so these people can be brought to justice.” 

New York State Police also arrested 44-year-old Gretchen Eddy of Troy. Police said she is the dog’s owner who failed to get the dog proper veterinary care as it died. Eddy will appear in Brunswick town court Wednesday, March 30 to answer for a misdemeanor charge of torturing or injuring animals/failure to provide sustenance under Section 353 of the Agriculture and Markets Law.

State Sen. James Tedisco (R, Glenville), who has been advocating for animal rights for several years, said the case represents another example of why New York State should have a statewide animal abuse registry. “Any pet shop—any family that wants to give away a cat or allow a breeder to purchase a dog—can go to a registry, look for that name. Similar to what we have for a sexual abuse registry.”

Already, some counties—like Albany and Greene—have animal abuse registries. Still, the senator identified the flaw with individual registries that let an animal abuser from Albany County buy a pet in Rensselaer.