Utica, NY (WIBX) - State and local officials are putting those who abuse animals on notice. Senator Joseph Griffo just announced plans to enact tougher state actions, to curb the alarming rise in animal abuse.

The senator is organizing a public hearing of the State Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture to address the issue. He said, "A number of Legislators have ideas of what should be done. We just believe that in the Senate that the Committee on Agriculture, which has jurisdictional responsibilities for laws governing this subject, would have a public hearing." The hearing is taking place on Wednesday, May 9, at 2:30 p.m., on the 1st floor of the State Office Building in Utica.

Griffo says the message is clear. "Bear responsibility and accountability for your actions. It's no different than the way we should treat each other. I mean, we're talking about animals who can not speak for themselves or protect themselves, so I think it's really unfortunate, and I want people who are abusing or neglecting animals to know that there will be a consequence." He says the hearing is to get ideas from local and other state officials, including the public, on ways to deal with the increasing problem.

Stevens-Swan Humane Society spokesperson, Jerry Kraus said the topic will focus on ways to toughen existing laws protecting animals. "It's long overdue, we need to look at what's on the books right now, how we  can tweak that, how we can tighten and toughen the laws. Those that abuse our animals, we need to deal with them swiftly, and we need to send a message to the community [that] we're not going to stand for it anymore," he said.

President of the Humane Society of Rome, Lynn Rosen, said her center is also seeing an increase in animal abuse cases. "We're seeing it quite often and it's getting worse," she said. Rosen gave accounts of some recent animal abuse cases in Rome and said the joint efforts will hopefully curb the problem and raise awareness.