Senator Michelle Hinchey’s Bill to Protect Abandoned Animals in Vacant Properties Passes Senate During National Pet Week

ALBANY, NY –  Legislation (S4081A) sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) to find pets abandoned by their owners in vacated properties passed the New York State Senate today by a vote of 62-0. Hinchey’s bill, which advanced as part of a Senate legislative package in recognition of National Pet Week, requires vacated properties to be inspected for the presence of abandoned pets within three days of the resident’s departure. In the event an animal is found abandoned and left on the premises, the building owner must immediately notify an animal control officer, the police, or an agent of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals so the animal may be promptly retrieved and provided the necessary care.

“Our pets depend on us for food, water, shelter, and safety. During National Pet Week, I am proud that my bill to save thoughtlessly abandoned animals found at vacated properties passed the Senate today with wide bipartisan support,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. ”Animals should not have to suffer because of their owners’ neglectful actions and my bill requires that inspections of vacated properties occur within three days of a tenant’s departure so that no animal is left behind. Animal neglect has no place in our society, and this life-saving bill prevents needless suffering and creates a safer New York for our companion animals.”

The animal welfare legislative package advanced by the Senate today also includes legislation to shut down the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline, better defines the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals, and ensures the best interest of pets is considered during divorce or separation proceedings.

  • Puppy Mill Sales Ban: This bill, S1130, prohibits the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits by retail pet shops, creating a barrier against the puppy mill supply chain and encouraging pet shops to partner with local animal shelters to showcase animals available for adoption.
  • Clarifies Aggravated Cruelty to Animals: This bill, S960, eliminates the word “serious” from the "serious physical injury" language of the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals, to ensure appropriate penalties when a person intends to cause extreme physical pain to an animal, even if the animal makes a full recovery.
  • Companion Animal Consideration: This bill, S4248, will require the best interest of a companion animal to be considered when awarding possession in a divorce.