Katko introduces bill that protects animals seized by police in dog-fighting investigations

DEWITT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - Congressman John Katko visited the Dewitt Animal Hospital on Wednesday, unveiling new legislation that will help abused dogs.

The bill will protect animals seized by police in dog-fighting investigations. Right now, those dogs are treated as evidence.

"Dogs (are) left on the street abandoned buildings, basements, backyards, with wounds bleeding profusely, some bleeding so much, all you see is red, and wondering if they're even going to make it to the shelter,” said Officer Becky Thompson with the Syracuse Police Department. 

If they survive and get to a shelter, like the SPCA or DeWitt Animal Hospital, they are stuck there for as long as it takes their case to go through court.

"It's evidence, like a stereo or phone, unfortunately we're dealing with live evidence, so we have to make accommodations for that,” Thompson explained.

"I know from the federal system, they can take a tremendous amount of time, from the time they're arrested to the time the case is disposed of, and in the time, these poor fellas are sitting here in these cages and they’re not able to do the things they want to do to help them, especially finding homes,” Katko said.

Katko’s HEART Act gets them out of cages quicker. HEART stands for Help Extract Animals from Red Tape.

Courts will have to consider the animal's welfare and the dog's owner will be responsible for the cost of care shelter keeping and caring for the injured dog. Good for taxpayers, but better for the dogs.

Katko says the bill is gaining support in the House of Representatives and has 14 co-sponsors.


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