Not Rolling Over When it Comes to Animal Cruelty

Senator Monica R. Martinez

January 19, 2024

Senator Monica R. Martinez Makes New Push to Pass Stronger Animal Protections After Shocking Abuse Discovery

HAUPPAUGE, NY - New York State Senator Monica R. Martinez is renewing a call to pass “Tucker's Law” following the discovery this week of two dogs that were allegedly shot in the head by their owner in what investigators are calling "a particularly horrific example of cruelty." If enacted, the proposal will amend the state’s agriculture and markets law to give judges the discretion to order consecutive or concurrent sentences when an individual is convicted of multiple counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.

On Thursday, prosecutors announced the arrest of a Riverhead man for aggravated cruelty to animals, neglect of an impounded animal, and other crimes after a 1-year-old German Shepherd was found lying in a pen next to a dead goat, paralyzed by a gunshot wound to the head that resulted in the animal needing to be euthanized. Further investigation into the dog’s shooting revealed the suspect had also shot and killed a 6-month-old German shepherd puppy a month earlier. In addition to the two shootings, responding officials located several deceased farm animals on the property as well as an additional eight dogs, goats, pigs, cows, and chickens that were malnourished and without access to clean food or water.

“Every time we hear of these animal abuse cases, we are reminded that humanity's laws against inhumane behavior have not always kept pace with the depravity of some individuals," said Senator Martinez. "It is unfortunate that once again, we are in a situation calling for the strengthening of animal abuse laws after another shocking case of torture. However, I firmly believe this will be the year we will pass 'Tucker's Law.'”

Originally introduced in 2020 after the arrest of a Long Island man for the beating deaths of two dogs and the injury of a third, “Tucker’s Law” - named for one of the three dogs brutalized - was in response to an existing limitation within state law that restricts a charge of aggravated cruelty to a definite sentence not to exceed two years in prison. Despite having bipartisan support in the Senate, the proposal has yet to move through both legislative chambers and onto the governor for final approval. However, with these cases becoming more common throughout the state, it is expected “Tucker’s Law” will fetch the support it needs during this session.

Assemblymember Jen Lunsford who is sponsoring the proposal in that chamber said, “Cruelty to animals is a predictor of cruelty to humans.  Therefore, it is important to me to make sure that the criminal justice system has the tools necessary to punish those malicious few who would engage in aggravated cruelty to animals.  ‘Tucker’s Law’ corrects the grievous error currently in the law; and its passage would allow us to deter these acts of violence and hold perpetrators accountable.”

“This common-sense legislation will close an abhorrent loophole that essentially grants immunity for a serial animal abuser to repeatedly torture and kill animals,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney.  “Law enforcement has been coping with this idiotic status quo for 25 years and counting.  For the sake of animal welfare and public safety, Albany should pass this bill without any further delay.”

“We have remained steadfast in our commitment to, and support of, Tucker’s Law and are grateful to New York State Senator Monica R. Martinez for continuing to fight for the passage of this law,” said Joanne Yohannan, Senior Vice President, Operations, North Shore Animal League America.  “We are deeply committed to continuing to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and firmly believe that anyone who would hurt an animal deserves the harshest punishment allowed by law.”

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