Recent high-profile incidents, including the Charlotte case and an active case involving the abuse of a Chihuahua, have spurred District Attorney Michael E. McMahon to announce the formation of an Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit.“This unit will investigate and prosecute crimes against animals,” McMahon said during a press conference at the district attorney’s office Wednesday. “It will help us highlight cases of animal abuse and to prevent animal cruelty. It will also help us educate the community about available resources and programs to prevent neglect, abuse and injuries to animals.” Assistant District Attorney Jane Grinberg will lead the new unit. Grinberg prosecuted the Charlotte case, which led to a felony conviction of Alsu Ivanchenko. Ivanchenko, who was sentenced to one year in prison, is the first person on the city’s animal-abuse registry, officials said. Grinberg is also the lead prosecutor on the Jerry Moore case. Moore has been indicted on charges including felony aggravated cruelty to animals for allegedly killing Bambi, his wife’s 2-month-old Chihuahua. According to the 11-count indictment and documents filed in court, Moore, of New Brighton, squeezed his hands around the two-pound dog’s throat.  Moore also threw Bambi into a wall at the couple’s home on Jersey Street, the indictment alleges. “I’m very proud of my office,” Grinberg said at the presser. “I want to commend the district attorney for starting this to help animals on Staten Island.” The district attorney’s office will work with the NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigations Squad and the ASPCA to provide for the direct care of animal cruelty victims. NYPD Sgt. Yvette Ortiz, who will be a liaison for the new unit, says animal abuse and domestic violence are closely linked. “Studies have shown that animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes,” McMahon said. “Forty percent of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations out of fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind, and as many as 75 percent of violent offenders in prison have earlier records of animal cruelty. Designating one unit to handle animal abuse cases is a critically important step in showing the public that our office understands the seriousness of these crimes and that we are committed to being a voice for the voiceless.” Staten Island is the second borough after Queens to form such a unit.

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