Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice comments about the mishaps...

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice comments about the mishaps of the crime lab at a news conference in Mineola. (Feb. 15, 2011) Credit: Howard Schnapp

It's been a year since the Nassau County district attorney created an animal cruelty unit.

It hasn't gone to the dogs, District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Wednesday.

Rice held a news conference at the Animal Lovers League in Glen Cove to announce that prosecutions have increased and a new animal abuse hotline has received more than 700 complaints.

"These are not easy cases to prosecute," Rice said. "You have victims who cannot call for help. But it's important that we treat these cases with the seriousness they deserve."

Sixteen cases have been prosecuted since the hotline was launched a year ago. In previous years, the office averaged about two prosecutions a year, Rice said.

Investigation and prosecution of animal cases can often uncover other crimes, she said, like domestic violence, gang activity or child neglect.

"That's why the hotline is so important," Rice said.

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