State Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset) announced today that the Senate has passed his legislation, Senate Bill 663, which includes the theft of a dog or cat within the provisions of grand larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony.

"Approximately 1.5 to 2 million family pets are taken forcibly or by devious tactics each year in this country. Yet because the dollar value of stolen property needed to qualify for a felony larceny is $1,000, police authorities take only limited action on reported thefts of dogs and cats. This bill will rectify this situation and make the theft of a dog or cat a class E felony," Senator Marcellino said.

This legislation provides that a person is guilty of grand larceny in the fourth degree (a class E felony) when he or she steals a pet from the owner or from the property of the owner. The crime is punishable by up to 4 years of imprisonment.

"Dogs and cats are stolen and sold for many reasons; dog-fighting, puppy-mills, prey for exotic animals and fur for clothing and accessories. Our pets are a loving, vital part of the family. It is impossible to place a dollar value on the love and companionship provided by our pets. Those who cruelly steal pets for heinous purposes deserve to be tried and convicted of a felony," Senator Marcellino concluded.

The bill now goes to the Assembly where it is carried by Assemblyman Scott Stringer.

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