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      Animal cruelty cases up, APD warns pet owners

      Albany Police said on Wednesday that they've seen a 22 percent increase in animal cruelty cases over the past year. Sergeant Edward Heath said this is the largest number of cases he's ever seen.

      Most of the abuse reported stemmed from malnourishment. Police are now warning residents to take care of their animals or face penalty.

      "If you're going somewhere and you know that you are going to spend more time, don't leave the dog in your vehicle," said Sherman Capers, Animal Control Superintendent, "Even if you have the windows cracked."

      On a 93 degree day, the temperature inside a car can grow within minutes to over 120 degrees. Authorities said make sure someone is in the car with your pet and the air conditioner is going, or you could simply leave your pet at home.

      Police said to make sure your pet has adequate water and food.

      "You can't give a large dog a little bowl of water. He needs to have a five gallon bucket," said Capers.

      Keeping your pet's water bowl filled can help prevent dehydration. Officials also said try to keep pets in a shady place and try not to over exercise them. Also, if the weather outside gets to hot, they advise owners to bring all animals inside.

      Authorities said they take an animals living conditions into account. They say no form of abuse will be tolerated and offenders will face the law.

      "It's a misdemeanor now but it can go to a felony," said Sergeant Edward Heath, Albany Police Department, "It depends on how severe the case is."

      Sergeant Heath said if you can't afford to take care of your pet, turn it in to the animal shelter or give it to someone who will take care of it.