Assemblyman James N. Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today called on officials to prosecute an alleged Schenectady animal abuser to the fullest extent of the law. According to police, Thomas Hendricks, 28, faces three counts of felony aggravated animal cruelty for killing two dogs and severely burning another. Tedisco said such behavior must not be tolerated and is often the sign of serious psychological problems which can lead to more violent crime.
“As a pet owner, and sponsor of Buster’s Law, I find the crimes this man is alleged to have committed to be heinous,” said Tedisco. “For the safety of our pets and the safety of our families, he must face the most severe penalties. There is no doubt that drowning a dog, beating another to death with a pool cue, and scalding a third should fall under the most severe forms of animal cruelty.”
Tedisco said the case was a clear violation of Buster’s Law, legislation he introduced that was signed into law in 1999. Buster’s Law makes it a felony to commit certain types of animal abuse. Violators can receive up to two years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. Tedisco has fought to strengthen Buster’s Law. He introduced a bill, A8444, which would raise the penalties from maximum fines of $5000 to $10,000 and prison terms from two years to four years. The bill would also require courts to order violators to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if treatment is necessary.
“This has the makings of a bridge crime,” said Tedisco. “There is an established link between certain kinds of violence against animals and eventual violence against people. Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, David ‘Son of Sam’ Berkowitz, and Albert DeSalvo, better known as ‘The Boston Strangler,’ all had a history of abusing animals before they turned their hatred to people.”