With recent news of neglect, abuse and animal theft in our area, the New York State Senate has passed a bill to protect our pets.
The legislation is to help prevent animal theft by increasing the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony.
This comes as good news for one Utica woman who says her dog was stolen from her right in her own backyard.
"We heard a screech noise like someone was driving away really fast," explained Catherine Longo.
That's when Catherine Longo looked in her backyard to find that her one year old shepard-husky mix molly was taken off her leash-- nowhere to be found.
"I'm always constantly looking outside. I thought maybe she'd come back," said Longo.
It's been about two weeks and now Catherine is now turning to the internet to get the word out about her missing dog.
"When you lose an animal it's like losing a family member. It's like your kid," said Longo.
Catherine traveled as far as Syracuse in the hopes of finding molly at one of the humane societies.
She says she just wants her Molly back.
"I'm more cautious. I'm on the edge all the time because I'm nervous my other dogs are going to be taken," stated Longo.
According to the American Kennel Club's database, there is a continuing trend of pet thefts across the nation.
As the Senate passed the bill Wednesday night, Senator Joseph Griffo says he hopes the Assembly will follow through with the legislation.
He says there's a variety of reason why there is a rise of companion animals being stolen.
"It could be for fighting purposes, puppy mills or a prey for exotic animals. So it's our intent to prevent that we raise the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony," said Senator Griffo.
The bill still needs to go through the New York State Assembly.
Catherine says she is still hopeful and will continue to search for her dog Molly.