A young dog was found by Utica, New York police tied to a table outside in subzero temperatures. The dog had frozen to the ground and suffered severe frostbite. The dog later identified as Apollo, had icicles hanging off of him.
Apollo was bleeding and hair and skin are missing in patches over his body. One report described him as "distraught", his eyes drooping.
Neighbors who heard Apollo barking called police. Otherwise, he probably would have frozen to death. Apollo is recovering at a local humane society.
Utica Police Dept. Sgt. Steve Hauck led the investigation. Police so far have refused to identify the owner. The owner has been charged only with having an unlicensed and unvaccinated dog and allowing the dog to run at large. Police indicated they have "talked" with the owner and would not identify the owner "due to the public’s interest and concern for all parties involved." The owner apparently claims someone else chained the dog outside. But police have closed the investigation.
Actually, it is the public interest in protecting animals from cruelty that should require disclosure of the alleged abuser’s identity. More importantly, the owner or whoever chained the dog in that manner should be charged with animal cruelty and neglect.
Under New York law "torture" or "cruelty" to an animal "includes every act, omission, or neglect, whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted." NY CLS Ag & Mkts. Sections 350, 353.
It is a felony punishable by up to 2 years in prison, in fact, in New York to commit "aggravated cruelty" to animals which is "when, with no justifiable purpose, he or she intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal with" conduct "intended to cause extreme physical pain"; or which "is done or carried out in an especially depraved or sadistic manner." NY CLS Ag & Mkts. Sections 353a.
Specifically, dogs are not supposed to be left outside in inclement weather. A night where the temperatures plummeted to 20 below zero would surely qualify as "inclement". Dogs left outside in inclement weather must have "ready access to, or the ability to enter, a house, apartment building, office building, or any other permanent structure". NY CLS Ag & Mkts. Sections 353b. The "housing facility… must: (1) have a waterproof roof; (2) be structurally sound with insulation appropriate to local climatic conditions and sufficient to protect the dog from inclement weather".
Why wouldn’t the owner or person responsible for the abuse of this poor dog be charged with even violation of this law? Sadly, the penalty is in this case at most a $100 fine.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Don’t let this terrible crime go unpunished. Contact the District Attorney and urge him to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law:
Scott D. McNamara, ESQ.
Oneida County District Attorney
Oneida County Office Building
800 Park Avenue
Utica, New York 13501
Phone: 315.798.5766 Fax: 315.798.5582