Animal abuse can often expose other crimes- such as domestic violence or child abuse. That’s why prosecutors say they want to make sure cases involving animals are aggressively pursued.
The Albany County DA says he and other DA’s are creating a statewide taskforce that will help educate prosecutors to do just that.
“First and foremost, people who abuse animals are people who abuse vulnerable people as well.”, says Soares. He has several recent cases he can point to.
A man who doused his ex-girlfriend’s rabbit with gasoline and another man who pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend’s German Shepard after repeatedly violating an order of protection. It was after the well publicized case of Hudson and Pearl (puppies who survived being nailed to railroad tracks) that Soares announced the formation of an animal abuse taskforce in Albany County with a dedicated prosecutor to aggressively handle those cases.
Anya: “Idealy, would you like to see a prosecutor in each District Attorney’s Office well versed in these laws and dedicated to these cases?” Soares: “That’s exactly what the goal is.”
As president of the District Attorneys Association of New York (DAASNY), Soares is now helping form a statewide Taskforce.
“The goal of the subcommittee is to bring together every expert in the various offices throughout the state.”, says Soares.
Not only will there be idea sharing, but also staff sharing- where prosecutors who are well versed in animal abuse laws will assist other offices that are still learning.
“My mission is to provide them with as much support, advice as I can.”, says Executive Assistant District Attorney Jen McCanney. McCanney is one of the prosecutors who will assist others if they need help with a case.
She adds: “There’s definitely a need for continued education classes on animal cruelty because it is different. It’s the Ag & Markets Law, it’s not the Penal Law. The police have less knowledge about the law typically than the prosecutors do.” To help officers who are called to a case that involves abuse, (DAASNY) has also co-sponsored an App that includes all NYS Animal Laws currently on the books.