Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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Animal rights activists rally against local animal laws

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Albany/HV: Animal rights activists rally against local animal laws
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A rally was held in an effort to pressure lawmakers to change animal ownership laws. Our Barry Wygel has more on the rally in response to claims of neglect at a dog breeder in Sprakers.

SPRAKERS, N.Y. -- Lainey's Army traveled to the Town of Root Board meeting on Tuesday to challenge the laws on animal rights. After a week of public outcry, Montgomery County temporarily removed 40 dogs from a breeder in Sprakers.

"Sixth-tenths of a mile down the road from this town hall, where they issue the zoning permits, this has been happening for 15 to 20 years," said Kimberly Strong, a member of Lainey's Army.

Town leaders say they worked with Herbert Wiech to address the problems with his property before. However, they say they didn't realize how large the breeding operation had gotten over time.

"We tried to approach this in a thoughtful manner a couple years ago, because we were aware that some of these issues were out there," said Robert Subik, Town of Root attorney. "I don't think we knew the total number of dogs that were at Mr. Wiech's facility, but we were aware there was something of an issue."

The town passed a comprehensive kennel law nearly two years ago that provides strict limits on the number of dogs per acres, and deals with fecal removal and other issues. As a result, the town gave existing kennels two years to comply.

"Come April, he has to meet the new requirements, which as in his present ownership he cannot meet," said Paul Toleno, Root resident.

However, animal rights activists say even beyond the scope of the town, there was a breakdown of the law.

"Our biggest gripe with this whole situation is that it didn't need to escalate to what it did. It escalated to what it did because the authorities and the people in charge didn't do their jobs properly," said Strong.

Wiech has refused multiple attempts for interviews on the issue, but promised a judge on Tuesday that he would improve his property in one month's time. Animal rights activists are also pushing the Governor to sign a bill that would better regulate the breeding industry.

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