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Grand Jury Urges Changes

Kingston - The Ulster County grand jury that cleared animal abuse suspect Bruce Van Bramer in August 2006 has recommended sweeping changes to the state's animal cruelty laws.

In a report issued Thursday, the grand jury proposed a comprehensive plan to protect house pets that are under the care of self-proclaimed pet rescue operations.

The report was issued at the request of county District Attorney Donald A. Williams after the grand jury declined to file criminal charges against Van Bramer, who was accused of animal cruelty for the treatment of numerous pets at ZPR Ltd., an operation at Van Bramer's Lake Katrine home that he and his supporters described as an "animal rescue facility."

The grand jury said it recognized that self-styled animal rescue facilities serve a need, but the panel also observed there is a need to ensure the well-being of the animals in the care of such facilities.

"The grand jurors noted that they do not wish to discourage private individuals or organizations from selfless efforts to care for unwanted animals," Williams said in a prepared statement.

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