Aggravated Animal Cruelty Entails An Intentional Act; Officials Say Charges Are Rare

JAMESTOWN – The felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals levied against suspected dog killer, Robert Overton, is a charge that local law enforcement says they don’t see often in Chautauqua County. 
The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office released data on cases from 2013-18  against people charged with aggravated cruelty to animals , which is part of the state’s Agriculture and Markets Law.
According to the law, a person is guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals when, with no justifiable purpose, he or she intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal with aggravated cruelty.
“It’s pretty rare,” said Sheriff Joe Gerace. “There’s only been two people charged with aggravated cruelty to animals since 2013. That does not include the charges filed against Robert Overton on Thursday.”
Gerace could not provide specific details of those cases other.
New York State Police had a more in-depth analysis of charges and number of cases involving this particular part of the Agriculture and Markets Law.
“We’ve had two cases of aggravated cruelty to animals since 2013,” said Captain Eric Balon. “On January 8th, 2013, a man killed his mother’s cat, (and) on June 12th, 2014, a person left a dog in a hot car for an extended period of time.”
Balon said an arrest was made in the killing of the cat, but he wasn’t sure about the case involving the dog.
Overton admitted to WNYNewsNow that he killed his pit bull identified as Champagne, after the dog showed repeated signs of aggression.
Jamestown Police Captain Robert Samuelson, whose law enforcement career has spanned nearly three decades, said this case was a rarity for JPD.
“I’ve never seen a case like this in our area, and I hope we never do, again,” said Samuelson. “This was a very viscous and horrific act to a poor, defensiveness animal. We are very happy to have this case come to an end so quickly.”