Updated at 10:50 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16
Geddes (WSYR-TV) - Angry animal rights advocates united outside the Geddes Town Court on behalf of a dog named Ali.
"Somebody needs to speak out for these animals. The abuse is getting out of hand. What that man did to that dog, she didn't just die in that car. That poor dog suffered," said Kelly Lauckern.
Inside a courtroom, Patrick Oneill stood listening to charges that he'd left his dog in a car near the fairgrounds for hours with no water, before she succumbed to the heat.
A not guilty plea is now on the books for a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.
"We're concerned that given this man's history....we'd like to see this at a felony level instead of just a misdemeanor of 'Oh, I forgot to let my dog out of the car," explained Karen Antczak with the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse.
In order for the charge to rise to the level of a felony, police say they must have evidence of torture inflicted on the animal.
Oneill asked the judge to delay his next court appearance in Geddes while he faces separate charges in St. Lawrence County, where he's accused of keeping several neglected horses on his property.
"It wasn't a pleasant death and there is no excuse for it," said Jean O'Leary, who created a Facebook page for Ali. "Why do we allow these people to do this? Why do we just slap them on the hands and let them walk away? He has 22 counts of animal abuse. Why was he not being watched?"
As Oneill left court, he faced about a dozen people, some demanding answers as he walked away.
"How could you leave your dog in the car like that? You didn't know it was going to kill your dog?" O'Leary yelled.
Oneill didn't offer any explanations to the crowd. But they're vowing to meet him again when he returns to Geddes for every court appearance.
"The goal at the end of the day is to make life better for these animals, to let people know that it is not okay to treat their animals this way," said Melissa Robar of the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse.
Since he lives in Massena, Oneill told Judge Matthews that he hasn't been able to find a local lawyer yet.
The judge agreed to schedule the next court appearance on November 4, 2013.