HEMPSTEAD - A woman was charged with animal cruelty after police say she left her two pet dogs out on a balcony in the middle of last week's heat wave, causing one of them to die.
Police say 56-year-old Louise Hanif, of Hempstead Village, had left her Shih Tzu and Pomeranian breed dogs on the balcony of her Clinton Street apartment.
Officers received a tip about the dogs, and when the Shih Tzu was found, authorities say its body temperature was 107 degrees. It did not survive.
The 3-year-old Pomeranian was also overheated. It was seized from Hanif's care and was taken to the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh.
A judge released Hanif on her own recognizance after her lawyer told the court she had a steady job and no criminal history.
The case is renewing calls for tougher penalties for those convicted of abusing animals.
Under current law, cases of animal neglect and torture fall under under the state's Agriculture and Markets Law, and are not violations under the penal law, which might make penalties more severe. Animal rights advocates say the laws are outdated and were made when all animals were considered livestock, rather than companions.
"We're moving to get the laws out of the Agro-Market, so judges across the state, not just in Nassau County, take this seriously, so police departments enforce it," says Nassau SPCA spokesman Gary Rogers.
Proposals to change the law have stalled in both the state Assembly and the Senate.
The SPCA says organizations like the Long Island Farm Bureau are lobbying against changing the laws. News 12 reached out to the Farm Bureau for a response, but has not yet heard back.