Reports: Canestrari not running for re-election, another gruesome find in cat hoarding case, sections of state parks going smoke-free, man allegedly recorded people in CVS bathroom

Ron Canestrari told colleagues at the Capitol yesterday that he will not be running for re-election -- and he's expected to make an official announcement this morning. That means three of the Assemblymen from the Capital Region's core -- Jack McEneny, Bob Reilly, and now Canestrari -- are not running. [State of Politics] [TU CapCon]

Suspended Albany police officer Robert Schunk was fired Monday after a ruling by an arbitrator, the APD announced. Schunk had been involved in a string of incidents, most recently a domestic incident in Halfmoon in which he was found guilty of harassment and criminal mischief. Said Saratoga County DA Jim Murphy following the announcement of Schunk's firing: "After hearing Schunk's victim's testimony, one can only conclude, as the arbitrator must have in the administrative hearing, that Schunk's conduct simply does not meet the high standards of professionalism and ethics of the Albany Police Department." [APD email press release] [TU] [Jim Murphy]

A state Supreme Court has ruled that the Colonie's landfill privatization deal didn't require an opportunity for the deal to go up for a public referendum. An attorney for Albany County comptroller Mike Conners, who challenged the deal, says an appeal is expected. [TU] [Troy Record]

State Police say 44 dead cats found in Rensselaer County are linked to the recent animal hoarding cases in Halfmoon and Schaghticoke. The Mohawk Hudson River Humane Society says it found 42 ziplock bags containing the decayed bodies of kittens, as well as two adult cat bodies wrapped in towels. Said Mohawk Hudson executive director Brad Shear: "The entire situation is extremely disturbing. We've never really run into a hoarding case like this." [Troy Record] [Mohawk Hudson Humane press release, below] [TU]

The state parks office announced it's creating "smoke-free areas in outdoor settings within state parks and historic sites where large numbers of people congregate, including around playgrounds and pools." [NYS OPRHS]

State Police say a high-speed car chase that started on the Taconic Parkway in Columbia County last night ended between exits 15 and 16 on the Northway when the driver crashed into a stand of trees, flipping the car. The driver was airlifted to Albany Med. The northbound side of the Northway was closed for several hours. [TU] [Post-Star] [Fox23] [WTEN]

Mechanicville police say five kids have been arrested for the vandalism at historic cemetery that allegedly caused $100k in damage. They range in ages from 9-13. Mechanicville mayor Anthony Sylvester: "I said you've got to be kidding me? Those are really young kids." [Saratogian] [TU] [YNN]

Colonie police say an Albany College of Pharmacy student working at a CVS in Latham was arrested for allegedly using an iPhone to record video of women using the bathroom at the drugstore (map). CPD says a woman found the phone and thought it had been left, until she realized it was recording. The man allegedly told police he had made about 30 recordings and did it because "It is a thrill of not getting caught thing." [TU] [YNN] [WTEN] [WNYT]

A village of Colonie employee has been arrested for allegedly taking time out from flushing hydrants to steal prescription drugs from a home. [TU]

The small fire and smoke at the Legislative Office Building yesterday was apparently caused by one of the "thousands" of discarded cigarette butts that have accumulated under the tiles of one of the building's entrances. [State of Politics]

The Schenectady city council has selected Marion Porterfield to fill the long vacant seat left by now-mayor Gary McCarthy. Vince Riggi blocked her automatic appointment not out of opposition to her, but as a protest that seat wasn't being filled in vote by the public. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Albany County has the largest county legislature in the state, an issue that might come up for the a new commission charged with studying the structure of the county government. [TU]

The headquarters for State Police Troop G in Latham -- it's on Route 7 west of I-87, by the NYSUT building -- is expected to be ready by this fall. [Daily Gazette]

About 200 employees hired for the GlobalFoundries fab in Malta are from out of the country. [TU]

A long-planned riverfront condo project in Halfmoon is closer to moving ahead. [TU]

The dry, blustery weather has made conditions right for brush fires. [TU]

The homeless man whose Schenectady brother left him $100k last year says he's been sleeping under bridges. [TU]

Quad Graphics' plant in Saratoga produces almost 1 billion magazines a year. [Daily Gazette]


Mohawk Hudson: Forty-four Dead Cats Linked to Suspected Animal Hoarder

Menands, NY - State police were called to Johnsonville on Thursday, April 5 to investigate the apparent dumping of dead cats at 90 River Road. An anonymous caller said they saw suspected animal hoarder Arthur Millard leaving plastic containers at the rear of the property where his father lives. State Police found three containers with the remains of multiple cats and kittens. Troy Animal Control assisted with the transportation of the evidence to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands.

Upon arrival at the Humane Society, investigators removed 42 Ziploc bags containing the remains of kittens and the remains of two adult cats wrapped in towels. The animals were mostly decomposed; the remains consisted primarily of skin and fur, the animals' organs had liquefied.

"This is an incredibly disturbing case. We suspect these animals suffered horribly before they died. Not only were there over 130 cats in Mr. Millard's home in Halfmoon, but here we have another 44 dead animals. We're not sure if they had been in the Halfmoon house or if he still has cats at another location," said Brad Shear Executive Director of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.

State Police and the Humane Society are continuing to investigate Mr. Millard and members of his family on suspicion that they may still have additional cats at another address. Mr. Millard was arrested last year for animal cruelty in Schaghticoke, but was released on an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. A State Police investigation is pending and there may be further criminal charges filed against Millard. Police are asking anyone with more information about other cats Mr. Millard may have to come forward. Those with information should contact Brad Shear at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society at 518-434-8128 x203 or Mark Cepiel at the New York State Police at 518-783-3211.


If I found a phone like that, I'd call everyone in their contact list and tell them what a useless perv the person is. I bet you could do some damage on Facebook, too.

Re: Dead cats

Granted, I'm no psychiatrist, but the nature of this crime seems to go beyond that of your typical hoarder. If anything screams "mental illness", it's this. I'm trying to have some compassion for the human even though his ("alleged") actions are beyond abhorrent.

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