Advocates: state animal cruelty laws lack bite
By: Solomon Syed
TROY, N.Y. — You wouldn’t know it from a booming bark, or playful purring, but too often pets are silent victims when it comes to animal abuse.”Our pets are so important for our families, they’re a part of families,” said Assemblyman Jim Tedisco. “And we’ve got some situations that have come out recently in this area where there seems to be a lot more need for education.”
Tedisco is one of several guest speakers at the Empire State Animal Protection Forum, where dozens gathered to give a voice to our furry friends in need.
“Not just for people who are in animal situations, but also for the general population,” said Laurie Smith, an animal cruelty investigator.
But some legal experts believe education pales in comparison to the need for reforming New York’s animal cruelty statutes they say lack bite.
“The animal cruelty laws are located in the agriculture and markets law in New York state, and that’s unusual,” said law professor and New York State Humane Association board member Valerie Lang. “In most state’s, they’re in the penal code, where the police are adequately and sufficiently trained in the laws to enforce them.”
Tedisco, who’s also up for re-election, sponsored the landmark Buster’s Bill, which makes it a felony to abuse a “companion animal.”
Now he and others are pushing to enhance the law and step up its enforcement, in light of allegations a Rensselaer County man tortured and killed his dog, shooting it in the head three times. As of now, that individual faces only misdemeanor charges.
The hope is that improved awareness through programs like these may help put an end to animal cruelty before long claw of the law has to get involved.