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Rice promotes her office's animal abuse hotline

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice (Jan. 13, 2008)

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice (Jan. 13, 2008) Photo Credit: Joel Cairo

District Attorney Kathleen Rice reiterated Wednesday night that if Attorney General Andrew Cuomo decides to run for governor, she will throw her hat in the race for attorney general, and she outlined some goals for her possible tenure.
“I’ve made it clear that if Andrew Cuomo runs for governor, I plan to run for attorney general,” Rice said after speaking to an estimated 400 people at the eighth annual Pet Peeves gala at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, which strives to raise money for local shelters and animal rescue programs.
Rice was on hand to promote her office’s new animal abuse hotline, which she announced last month along with creation of a unit dedicated to handling animal cruelty cases. Callers to the 24-hour hotline at 516-680-8624 can choose to be anonymous.
“We need to bring reform to New York State,” she said. “Not just fiscally, but we need to bring ethics reform to the government ...I’d like to continue to do the work that Andrew Cuomo has done in his time ...and address kitchen-table issues.”
Rice, who is a Democrat, added: “I love my job as DA and I’d love to serve New York State in a broader capacity.”
During her five-minute speech at the gala, Rice focused on animal cruelty and the need for greater protection for what she called “the most helpless of our community.”
“What very often accompanies abuse and neglect against animals is abuse and neglect against actual people,” Rice said. She added that her years as district attorney have left her with plenty of anecdotal evidence to support her affirmations.
Rice also said she is supporting legislation that would make animal cruelty — currently prosecuted under agriculture and market laws — part of the penal law.
Pet Peeves, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to what president and founder Janine Dion called “the plight of the voiceless of the community” — animals, children and the elderly. It functions primarily as an umbrella organization, raising money and working with Long Island shelters that rescue animals while fostering humane education programs for children and pet therapy for the elderly, Dion said.
The organization has distributed about $600,000 in donations in the past eight years, including $70,000 this year, she said. That money will be divvied up among 13 different shelters and rescue groups in the form of grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
The greatest beneficiary likely will be shelters’ safe haven programs, which foster animals who can no longer be cared for by their owners, she said.
“The mission is to connect with people and help people who have to give up their pets because they can no longer afford to take care of them,” Dion said.
The money will also go toward helping abandoned horses and spaying and neutering of farm animals.
It’s a worthy cause, said Rice, who added that in difficult economic times, animals often are the first to suffer. Her talking points received rave reviews from those attending.
“I applaud her efforts,” said Pet Peeves executive board member Susan McKenna. “She’s serving a need, whether it be in Nassau or on the state level.”

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