Lawmakers Paws for Our Pets

Tedisco, Boyle & Serino Hold 6th Annual NYS Animal Advocacy Day to Call for “Kirby & Quigley’s Law,” Statewide Animal Abuser Registry, Other Laws to Protect Pets & People   

Special event in Albany brings together lawmakers, law enforcement and hundreds of pet owners and animal advocates to speak-up for our four-legged friends

 

Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville), Senator Phil Boyle (R,C,I-Suffolk County) and Senator Sue Serino (R,C,I-Hyde Park) today joined with their legislative colleagues, law enforcement and hundreds of pet owners and animal advocates to hold the 6th Annual NYS Animal Advocacy Day at an event in Albany emceed by Steve Caporizzo from Pet Connection.

 

“We have an obligation as a government to protect all members of our family, including those who have no voice. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who fail to see the value of our companion animals, resulting in animal abuse, cruelty and neglect, which occur far too often. Animal cruelty is a bridge crime on the FBI criminal profile and those who are so dastardly as to harm our pets can and often do go on to hurt people. Animal Advocacy Day matters because it’s about more than just protecting our four-legged friends, it’s about keeping people safe.  Just as important as strengthening our laws, Animal Advocacy Day aims to educate the public and law enforcement about the value of our companion animals and the importance of enforcing existing laws,” said Tedisco, Assembly Chair of Animal Advocacy Day.

 

“The safety of our animals is a responsibility in which we all need to share”, said Boyle, Senate Co-Chair of Animal Advocacy Day.  “I take great pride in the quality of the bi-partisan 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.” 

 

“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 harms 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,” said Serino, Senate Co-Chair of Animal Advocacy Day.

 

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Several bi-partisan measures on the agenda include pushing the Assembly to bring to the Floor for a debate and up or down vote “Kirby & Quigley’s Law” (A.1596//S.2936) which would make it a Buster’s Law felony punishable with 2 years in jail and a $5,000 fine for harming a companion animal during the commission of another felony. “Kirby & Quigley’s Law” was named for two Montgomery County dogs that were shot and killed during a burglary in February that is still an unsolved case. The State Senate voted across party lines to pass “Kirby & Quigley’s Law” three times, most recently in March 2016 by a 59-1 vote. It sailed through the Assembly Agriculture Committee with a 22-0 vote. It’s currently in the Codes Committee.

 

Also on the agenda is bi-partisan legislation (A.2484/S.2935) with Majority sponsors in both houses that would create a statewide registry for convicted animal abusers to ensure they can never adopt or purchase an animal again and that they receive psychological evaluation and treatment. In January 2016, the FBI moved animal cruelty to a top tier Group A offense in its crime reporting statistics due to it being a bridge crime as animal abusers can, and often do, go on to harm people.

 

Special guests included Denise Krohn, who has maintained a daily vigil in the Assembly Chamber to seek justice for her dogs “Kirby” and “Quigley” and passage in the Assembly of “Kirby & Quigley’s Law.”  Also speaking will be Victoria Bonavita, a 12 year-old animal educator and television reporter from Long Island, Albany County District Attorney David Soares, whose office has produced a special PSA television commercial to encourage people to report animal abuse, Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove, who prosecuted one of the first Buster’s animal cruelty felony law cases in the state, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo and his K-9 units, Nassau County Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the department’s animal crimes unit, Jed Painter, Susan Wagner from Equine Advocates, Richard Nash who adopted Hudson, one of the Railroad Puppies that was nailed to railroad tracks in Albany, acting dog Bocker the Labradoodle who has had numerous film and television appearances and Buzz the Fuzz a therapy cat that is appearing on Animal Planet television programs. 

 

This bipartisan event enabled animal supporters to network, share information and lobby their legislators to raise awareness of the need to protect pets and people from abuse. Over 50 exhibitors including rescues, shelters, and animal advocacy groups took part.

 

According to the ASPCA, 62 percent of American households have a pet. Studies have shown companion animals can provide a variety of positive health benefits, including providing comfort and assistance to seniors and people with disabilities. They help police, fire departments, and search and rescue efforts to keep citizens safe. It’s been widely reported that a military canine went in with U.S. Navy Seal Team 6 when they took down the world’s most notorious terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.

 

Buster’s Law created the felony category of "aggravated cruelty to animals," punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.  The law was named after an 18-month-old tabby cat that had been doused with kerosene and burned to death by a Schenectady teen. Prior to this bill becoming law, animal cruelty resulted in only misdemeanor penalties, if any charges were imposed at all.

 

Since the 1997 arrest that inspired the creation of Buster's Law, the perpetrator who abused that helpless cat has been imprisoned for various crimes, including attempted rape, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment of a 12-year-old girl. 

 

For more information on NYS Animal Advocacy Day, visit the event’s page on Facebook.

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