Lawmakers, animal advocates seek Buster’s Law felony, punishable with 2 years in jail for harming pets during commission of another felony
Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville), Senator George Amedore (R,C,I-Rotterdam), Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) and Senator Phil Boyle (R,C,I-Suffolk County) today joined with family members of two murdered dogs, law enforcement and animal advocates to make a major announcement on bi-partisan support for “Kirby & Quigley’s Law” to protect pets and people.
“Kirby & Quigley’s Law” was named for two Montgomery County dogs that were shot and killed during a burglary nearly one year ago which is still an unsolved case. The bill (S.1680/A.3038) would make it a Buster’s Law animal cruelty law felony, punishable with two years in jail and a $5,000 fine, for harming a companion animal during the commission of another felony.
This enhanced penalty ensures that perpetrators are charged with felony animal cruelty charges when they face other felonies such as burglary. The measure was renamed “Kirby & Quigley’s Law” in the dogs’ memory with support from the Krohn family who have turned their personal tragedy into something positive to advocate for passage of this law to keep others safe.
“It is by the grace of God that another member of the Krohn family was not present when this horrific event occurred as there’s no question in my mind that whoever would commit such a violent crime against a pet would not hesitate to harm a human. Anyone who would be so dastardly as to assassinate two beautiful, loving dogs in cold blood is a threat to others and should face justice under Buster’s Law and go to jail for a long time for all of their felony crimes,” said Senator Tedisco. “Now that we have bi-partisan majority sponsorship for ‘Kirby and Quigley’s Law’ in both the Senate and Assembly I am hopeful we can get this important public safety bill passed and sent to the Governor for his review.”
“No family should have to endure the loss that the Krohn family has experienced. They came home to find their house robbed and their beloved pets, Kirby and Quigley, viciously murdered. This type of heinous crime against our pets deserves proper punishment,” said Senator Amedore. “We need to do everything we can to protect all members of our family -- this measure has strong bipartisan support and there is no reason it should not be signed into law this year. While there is nothing that can replace the Krohn’s beloved pets, this legislation would be a wonderful legacy for Kirby and Quigley.”
“Pets are a part of our families and anyone that comes into a home to commit a crime and takes an innocent life must be held accountable,” said Assemblyman Santabarbara. “As a society, we cannot be tolerant of brutal and deadly attacks like this on innocent animals,” Santabarbara added. “This tragic event reminds us that it’s our obligation to take the steps necessary to ensure their safety.”
“I commend Senator Tedisco and the Krohn family for their dedicated leadership on the Kirby and Quigley Bill. It is with their continued commitment that our fight for animal rights, to hold criminals accountable if they harm our companion animals who truly are members of our families, will persist,” said Senator Boyle.
“My family and I are changed people due to the tragedy that occurred at our home on February 17, 2016. The heinous crime of killing our dogs Kirby and Quigley during the robbery of our home will be with us forever. Our lives are now defined by the time before Kirby and Quigley were murdered in our home and after this tragedy. Every day, our family agonizes over the fact that the criminals who did this may never be punished for murdering our pets. Our mission now is to advocate for this bi-partisan bill sponsored by Senators Tedisco and Amedore and Assemblyman Santabarbara in hopes that another family may have some relief knowing there is a law in place to protect our companion animals and humans from harm. We advocate for ‘Kirby and Quigley’s Law’ in honor of all animals who do not have a voice,” said Denise Krohn.
There is still a $12,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of any suspect(s). If you have any information that can solve this case, please call the Montgomery County Sheriff at 518-853-5500.
Cruelty to animals is a bridge crime as those who hurt animals go on to harm humans. A clear example of that is the individual who poured kerosene on Buster the cat in Schenectady that inspired Senator Tedisco to get Buster’s Law passed in 1999, later was imprisoned for various crimes, including attempted rape, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment of a 12-year-old girl. The FBI has moved animal cruelty to a top tier Group A offense in its crime reporting statistics due to it being a bridge crime.
The State Senate has passed “Kirby & Quigley’s Law” four years in a row, most recently in March 2016 by a 60-1 vote. There is an online petition drive that people can sign to urge for the bill’s passage in both houses of the legislature that can be found at www.tedisco.nysenate.gov.
“The evidence is clear that those who hurt animals often harm humans. If you commit felony animal cruelty during the act of committing another felony, we in law enforcement should always be able to charge those individuals for all the felony crimes they perpetrated. I strongly support the efforts of Senator Tedisco, Senator Amedore and Assemblyman Santabarbara to protect our animal and human residents,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo.
“I appreciate Senator Tedisco, Senator Amedore and Assemblyman Santabarbara for sponsoring the Kirby and Quigley bill to enforce stricter sentencing for the killing of an animal while committing a felony. This has hit us close to home in Montgomery County and we ask that it be passed. Animals are part of our family and need our protection. It is the right thing to do, to heighten the awareness of treating them properly and with kindness,” said Jan Zumbolo, Board President for Montgomery County SPCA.
“I am glad to see this issue will be considered by the legislature this year and am hopeful that this year will bring more collaboration on issues that not only protect animals, but also place proper consequences where needed and make our communities safer for all of its members – animals and people alike,” said Brad Shear,President and CEO, Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.
“We need stronger penalties for people who harm a pet during the commission of a crime. Passing ‘Kirby and Quigley's Law’ with its increased penalty addresses the significance of such a crime more appropriately. Thanks to Senator Tedisco for advancing this important legislation,” said Deb Balliet, Executive Director, Animal Protective Foundation in Scotia.
“New York’s network of animal shelters sees too many animals coming through our doors that have been abused—kicked, shot, stabbed—and left to die,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “It is time for New York to stand up for its companion animals. We can no longer tolerate abuse of defenseless animals who just want to be loved.”