Utica, NY (WIBX) - Efforts are underway to curb the rise in animal abuse cases across the state. Top officials in Albany are headed to Utica, to help enact tougher laws to punish those who inflict harm on defenseless animals.

State Senator Joseph Griffo is leading the march. He's holding a public hearing on the issue this afternoon at 2:30, on the 1st floor of the State Office Building on 207 Genesee Street in downtown Utica.

And, he's bringing along the chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture. "I want to thank Senator Pattie Ricthie, the chair of the committee, for agreeing to come to Utica to hold this hearing where you'll have oral testimony by experts in law enforcement and prosecution, the Department of Agriculture, as well as, animal advocacy groups, to give us their perspective on what needs to be done. It could be strengthening existing laws, or it could be something new," Griffo said. He adds that June is Animal Advocacy Month in Albany, and the hearing is taking place at a time when more attention is being paid on the issue.

According to Griffo, Utica Police Chief Mark Williams requested additional resources to make it easier for his department to charge people that are harming animals or being irresponsible pet owners. "We have taken action to protect children. We have taken action to protect adults. Our work is not complete unless we take further action that will ensure animals are not mistreated unto death by people who should not be allowed to ever, ever own an animal again and who should be paying the full price for intentionally treating a companion animal in such a way that has led to death," he said.

Also, Griffo is encouraging participation from the public. "Anyone is invited to submit written testimony, which will be part of the record. Oral testimony will only be by invitation and state-wide," he said. The State Legislature will hold its 2012 Animal Advocacy Day on June 13th in Albany.