WEEDSPORT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Animal cruelty cases have become more prevalent during the pandemic, according to investigators. 

In Weedsport, Finger Lakes SPCA of Central New York Investigator Tom Adessa says he has been seeing more cases with more people being home. 

“Domestic abuse cases and animal cruelty cases are on the uptick since the pandemic. There are a lot of stressors for people,” Adessa said. “The fear of COVID, the fear of being cooped up inside. For people already in an abusive situation, that anger and angst come out and it has manifested into abuse of the animals.”

He is currently helping handle a big case in Weedsport. Thursday, Robert Austin Hawkey, 18, of Weedsport, was charged with not giving adequate food, water, or shelter to 17 dogs at their home.  Hawkey’s mother, Nycole Rosetti, was charged on April 2 in connection to the same case.

Adessa says the two have 100 charges combined against them.