NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. recently joined his colleagues on the Senate Committee on Domestic Animal Welfare to approve five pieces of legislation he co-sponsors to combat unscrupulous puppy mills, protect animals from abuse, prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption, and otherwise institute stronger health and welfare safeguards for animals in New York State.
“Animals can’t speak up for themselves when they are sick, in danger, being abused, suffering pain, or at risk of losing their lives from neglect, ignorance or cruelty,” said Addabbo. “That’s why we have to speak up on their behalf, give them a voice, and take action to make sure all of our animals are able to live in safety, enjoy good health, and find loving families.”
The package of animal welfare bills co-sponsored by Addabbo and approved by the Domestic Animal Welfare Committee are as follows:
S.4234: This “anti-puppy mill” legislation will prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by retail pet stores, and permit these businesses to collaborate with animal shelters and humane societies to provide space for animal adoptions. The bill seeks to balance consumer interests and animal welfare by preventing unscrupulous pet dealers and breeders from selling animals to pet stores that are sometimes sick or raised in substandard conditions.
S.186: This bill, known as Kirby and Quigley’s law, expands the definition of aggravated cruelty to animals to include harm done to a companion animal when a person commits a felony crime. Kirby and Quigley were two dogs who were shot and killed when their owner wasn’t home and a violent burglar entered the premises. Sadly, it is not unusual for animals to be harmed when homes are burglarized, fall prey to arsonists, or are otherwise scenes of serious crimes.
S.4577: This legislation requires the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to issue code blue and code red alerts through public service announcements to let pet owners know when extreme weather conditions – marked by severely hot or cold temperatures – require them to bring their animals indoors. Refusal to do so may result in fines or the possible seizure of their pets. Exemptions are included for working dogs and animals provided with adequate covered shelter appropriate to their breed, physical condition, and climate.
S.3959: Known as Buoy’s Law, this legislation was introduced in memory of a young dog who unexpectedly died from a prescribed medication and whose owner had not been informed of the drug’s known potential side effects. The proposal would require veterinarians to notify animal owners of known medication side effects, thereby providing owners with the ability to make informed decisions about their pet’s treatment.
S.5938: This bill prohibits anyone in New York State from slaughtering horses for human consumption, or dealing with horseflesh they reasonably know is intended to be eaten. While horse slaughter in the United States was banned in 2007, a loophole now exists in federal law that may reopen the door to this practice. Since United States slaughterhouses closed, exports of horses and horseflesh for human consumption to Canada, Europe and Japan have greatly increased.
The bills co-sponsored by Addabbo and approved by the Senate Committee on Domestic Animal Welfare will now be reviewed by additional Senate Committees or be sent directly to the full 63-member Senate for consideration and a vote. In the Assembly, all of the bills are under review by various committees, including Agriculture and Higher Education.