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Animal abuse hotline in Essex County

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Essex County District Attorney’s office announced the launch of a new hotline for animal abuse.

“Law enforcement officers depend on tips from neighbors, community members and passerby to intervene before it’s too late,” district attorney Kristy Sprague. “Animals can’t advocate for themselves. We’re counting on the public to be their voice.”

Sprague recommended anyone who suspects animal abuse to call the hotline at 1-844-4RESQME or 1-844-473-7763. (Correction: The numeric phone number was wrong in an earlier version of this article due to a typographical error.)

Pets, wild life and farm animals are all protected under the New York State laws regarding animal abuse.

In addition to assault, Sprague added that abuse means failure to proved shelter, water, food and veterinarian services to animals. It is also illegal to chain a dog or leave it in a confined space for long periods of time in Essex County. If charged with abuse, the accused can be fined, forced to give up his or her animal or imprisoned.

Sprague said the hotline should be used as opposed to calling town officials or the local dog control officer.

“Animal abuse and neglect are crimes that my office takes seriously,” she said. “By using the hotline, we can be certain these calls will be properly handled.”

With an freezing winter upon us, both Sprague and Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting want citizens to use the hotline if they see animals left out in the cold.

“We are receiving numerous reports that animals have been left outside in this extreme cold have suffered from exposure,” Cutting said.. “We need people to report these incidents through the hotline so deputies can investigate as soon as possible.”

Plastic igloos and insulated dog houses are not adequate shelter, according to Sprague, especially as temperatures drop lower and lower.

Sprague added that abuse toward animals typical translate to abuse toward people.

“Where you find one, you often find the other,” she said. “Addressing animal cruelty as early as possible can save lives.”

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