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      Sen. Valesky co-sponsors animal abuse legislation after euthanized pit bull sparks online petition

      Grace the pit bull
      After an abused pit bull named Grace was euthanized last weekend, a group called Cuse Pit Crew quickly began a petition to strengthen animal abuse laws.

      The petition specifically called on Senator David Valesky to help them change the law to make animal abuse a felony.

      Senator Valesky responded to Cuse Pit Crew on Wednesday saying he has agreed to co-sponsor legislation that would support harsher penalties for animal abusers.

      Senator Valesky said in a message to those who signed the petition that legislation (S.6730/A.9917) has already been introduced to make animal neglect, including failure to provide medical care, punishable as a felony crime under penal law.

      "I have signed on as a co-sponsor of this legislation," wrote Senator Valesky. "I will join you in advocating for passage of this legislation in the upcoming 2013 legislative session which will begin in January."

      The pit bull, Grace, was found so badly treated and malnourished she had to be euthanized last weekend. The owner, a Syracuse woman, was charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty for failure to provide proper sustenance and failure to provide medical care.

      "I am aware of Grace??s story, and as a dog owner myself, I am sickened," wrote Valesky. "I had the opportunity to meet with members of the Cuse Pit Crew, and indicated that I would be supportive of changing the law to increase penalties against anyone who neglects or abuses a companion animal."