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A legacy for Grace: Valesky signs on as co-sponsor for animal abuse legislation

— The condition in which she was found would suggest Grace the pit bull knew little affection in her life.

The pit bull, assessed by vets at the emergency clinic at DeWitt Animal Hospital to be about 7 or 8 years old, should have weighed around 60 pounds. But Grace weighed roughly 30. She was emaciated, dehydrated, suffering from an eye infection. She couldn’t walk. Her organs were shutting down.

Animal Cruelty Officer Rebecca Thompson of the Syracuse Police judged that she had been starved. Grace’s condition was such that she had to be humanely euthanized. The dog’s owner, Marquette Jamison, 35, of 1511 W. Onondaga St., was charged Oct. 3 failure to provide medical care to an animal that needs it and failure to provide proper sustenance. Both charges are misdemeanors. Jamison was released on an appearance ticket to appear in Syracuse City Court.

So it would appear that Grace was deprived of not only the basic care she needed and, indeed, deserved to survive, but also of the tenderness and respect many companion animals receive on a daily basis.

She might not have received that love in life, but she’s getting it now that she’s gone.

State Sen. David Valesky (D-Oneida) has signed on as a co-sponsor to legislation introduced in the last legislative session that will allow those charged with animal abuse or neglect to be charged with a felony under New York State Penal Law. Currently, crimes against companion animals are legislated under New York State Agriculture and Markets Law. This means that the most violators can be charged with is a misdemeanor. Valesky said in many cases, that’s not enough.

“I think that the time has come,” Valesky said. “We’ve seen far too many examples of companion animal abuse and neglect in Syracuse, most recently that of Grace the pit bull.”

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