The New York State Senate today participated in the Legislature’s sixth annual Animal Advocacy Day and passed legislation to further protect animals and people from harm and abuse. This year’s event brought together lawmakers, law enforcement, and hundreds of pet owners and advocates to raise awareness of important animal issues.
Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Suffolk County), Senate Co-Sponsor of Animal Advocacy Day, said, “The safety of our animals is a responsibility in which we all need to share. I take great pride in the quality of the bipartisan legislation that we introduce each year – 2016 is no different. Every bill speaks volumes on how important it is that we systematically enact laws that not only protect our pets but, ultimately, punish those that wish to do them harm. I would like to thank all of the pet owners, groups and organizations that travel to Albany each year in support of Animal Advocacy Day. It is because of your support that we are able to determine the appropriate legislation that makes the greatest difference in keeping our animals safe.”
Senator Sue Serino (R-C-I, Hyde Park), Senate Co-Sponsor of Animal Advocacy Day, said, “For so many New Yorkers, our pets are an extension of our families and the thought of someone causing them injury is unfathomable. However, the reality is that far too many animals find themselves in harm’s way. This event is about the safety of our entire families and about giving voice to the needs of New York’s thousands of companion animals to ensure that they are not left in the shadows. I thank the advocates from across the state who have taken the time to travel to Albany to stand up for our companion animals who cannot fight for themselves.”
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport) said, “Animal Advocacy Day is an important event to raise awareness in order to protect pets and people from abuse, and I thank Senator Boyle, Senator Serino, and Assemblyman Tedisco for organizing this event. The Senate is committed to continuing our fight to prevent animal cruelty and the legislation passed today will help further protect New York’s pets and support their owners.”
The bills passed today include:
- S98A, sponsored by Senator Phil Boyle, would require certain university research facilities who use dogs and cats for research purposes to offer them for adoption through private placement or a non-profit animal rescue and shelter organizations.
- S7394A, sponsored by Senator Sue Serino, would extend protections to the pets of victims of domestic abuse by giving the court discretion to forbid contact between the abuser and any pet that is cared for by the victim.
- S1795, sponsored by Senator Patricia Ritchie (R-C, Heuvelton), would make it a misdemeanor if anyone allows a minor under the age of 16 years old to witness or attend an animal fighting event. This crime would be punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
- S3451, sponsored by Senator Terrence Murphy (R-C-I, Yorktown), would prevent animal abuse by raising the penalty for subsequent acts of cruelty (i.e torturing, killing, or failing to provide sustenance to an animal) which occur within five years of a prior Class E felony conviction.
- S4877, sponsored by Senator Joseph Robach (R-C-I, Rochester), would require municipalities to try and notify owners of a deceased animal if the death occurred on a highway. Under the provisions of this bill, if the animal has a tag with the family’s contact information, a license number, or has a identification chip to scan, the state should make a reasonable attempt to notify the family using the contact information/chip registration as well as the issuer of the license.
- S2102, sponsored by Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-C-I, Port Jefferson), would increase the penalties for keeping a companion animal in a vehicle during times of extreme hot or cold temperatures without proper ventilation or other protection. Extreme temperatures can put animals in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury. This measure would be punishable by an increased fine of $250-$500 for the first offense (raised from $50-$100), and $500-$1,000 for a second and subsequent violations (raised from $100-$250).
- S79, sponsored by Senator Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), would prohibit people who are convicted of animal cruelty from working in positions that place them in direct control of animal care, such as animal shelters.
- S6264, sponsored by Senator Rich Funke (R-C-I, Fairport), would exempt dog license fees for deployed active military members’ dogs.
- S3321, sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza (R-C-I, Staten Island), would allow domestic companion animals to board any commuter transportation operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in the event of a state of emergency and evacuation.
The bills have been sent to the Assembly.