At a rally in front of his office in Smithtown, Senator John J. Flanagan (2nd Senate District) today was publicly thanked by animal rights advocates for his support of legislation that would allow New York counties to ban trapping. The rally was organized by the Bite Back Coalition, a group that advocates the banning of trapping to protect the animals and children of Long Island.
The legislation would allow the banning of trapping on a county by county basis. This change would permit New York State counties that decide to ban trapping to do so. Currently, only the state has the authority to regulate trapping and the legislation would permit the counties to regulate the use of the devices.
The fight to ban traps was renewed after Bite Back Coalition Chair Gail Murphy lost her dog Zephyr due to a hunting trap. The 3 year old male dog was killed when he was caught in a trap while walking with Ms. Murphy through the Long Pond Greenbelt nature preserve in December of last year.
As a long time supporter of animal protection, Senator Flanagan has stated his support for this legislation. The legislation is currently in the Environmental Protection Committee in the New York State Senate and is active in the Assembly.
In addition to his support of this legislation, Senator Flanagan has championed other animal protections. Last year, he was successful in increasing the penalty for cruelty to animals to a class A misdemeanor. That change requires that those convicted of animal cruelty be photographed and fingerprinted to provide authorities with a complete record of their crimes. This change will ensure that previous convictions are given due consideration in the event of a repeat offense.
This year, Senator Flanagan has introduced legislation that would enhance that new law by raising repeat animal cruelty to felony status. Under this legislation, any repeat conviction for cruelty to animals within a five year period would be considered a class E felony to enable the justice system to impose lengthier periods of imprisonment and court supervision.
"The need to protect animals in any way possible is obvious. From fighting animal cruelty to decreasing the dangers innocent animals face, there are steps we can take to protect all the animals that make Long Island their home and this legislation is one of those steps," stated Senator Flanagan. "I appreciate the efforts of those who took the time to visit my office today and thank them for their support on this issue."
TEXT OF THE LETTER FROM THE BITE BACK COALITION TO SENATOR JOHN J. FLANAGAN:
May 15, 2006
Senator John J. Flanagan
260 Middle Country Road, Suite 203
Smithtown, NY 11784
Re: S. 2142
Dear Senator Flanagan:
We are gathering at your office this morning to thank you for your expressed support of Senate Bill S. 2142. Long Islanders, including many of your constituents, have clearly demonstrated that they do not want inhumane and lethal trapping on our densely populated island. Senate Bill S. 2142 recognizes that trapping should not be managed with a "one size fits all" approach. Suffolk County has already endorsed S. 2142 and has tried to ban steel-jaw leghold and body-gripping traps, only to be overruled by New York State.
Please use your influence to convince your peers in the Senate to vote for S. 2142 this year. We're asking you to call the Senate majority leader, Mr. Joseph Bruno, and to call Senator Carl Marcellino, whose Environmental Conservation Committee the bill is now in.
Senate Bill S. 2142 will not threaten upstate counties who may still feel that trapping is an important recreational or economic opportunity. They simply will retain current regulations.
Your renewed commitment will enable our local communities to protect our children, pets and wildlife while enjoying the beauty of our Long Island.
Thank you in advance for your active support.
Gail Murphy Sara Davison
Chair, Bite Back Coalition Vice Chair, Bite Back Coalition
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