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NYSNYS NEWS: Albany goes to the dogs as pet lovers hold a lobbying day.
NYSNYS NEWS: Albany goes to the dogs as pet lovers hold a lobbying day.

By Kyle Hughes

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 3) – With the stunning arrests and investigations of top state officials this year, it's tempting to say Albany has gone to the dogs, but that was exactly the case here Wednesday.

Animal lovers, legislators and their dogs held the 5th annual NYS Animal Advocacy Day, with this year's main goal the passage of a statewide registry for convicted abusers to ensure they can never adopt or purchase an animal again and that they receive psychological evaluation and treatment.

"This is like a dream come true for me and my colleagues," Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) said. "This is like a perfect day."

He was referring both to the show of support for animal welfare protections and the bipartisan crowd of lawmakers that turned out for the event. Tedisco brought his corgi dog, Gracie. "We call her Amazing Grace."

Also participating was Saratoga WarHorse Executive Director Katherine Pelham. Saratoga WarHorse is an equine therapy program that uses race horses to help veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to organizers, other participants included "Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove, who prosecuted one of the first Buster’s animal cruelty felony law cases in the state, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo and his K-9 units, Richard and Rosemarie Nash who adopted Hudson, one of the Railroad Puppies that was nailed to railroad tracks in Albany, and acting dog Bocker the Labradoodle who has had numerous film and television appearances."

Participants also posed for pictures with a small horse that was allowed into the Legislative Office Building for the event.

Tedisco said one of his priorities before the end of session on June 17 is passage of a bill to prevent race horses from being exported to other countries to be slaughtered for meat. Race horses have identifying tattoos in their mouths, so an inspection program would stop them from going to Canada and Mexico.

Tedisco first won attention for his animal advocacy in 1999, with passage of Buster's Law making serious animal abuse a felony. The law was named after a cat that died after it was set on fire by a teenager in Schenectady.

The law remains on the books, though most charged under the measure escape serious punishment.