Animal Law

Animal Law and New York: Bills to Watch Out For in 2018

This information came my way via the National Link Coalition newsletter for January. The National Link Coalition is dedicated to stopping violence against people and animals. I highly recommend its monthly newsletter as a way to stay on top of the latest in criminal justice, child protection, legislation, and more, regarding animal cruelty and “interspecies connectedness” of violence. Summary text written up by the National Link Coalition. I have provided links.

New York A8663 would amend §23 of the state’s Domestic Relations Law to require the court to consider the best interest of a companion animal when awarding possession in a divorce or separation proceeding. The bill is in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

New York S2470 and companion bill A2140, and S728 and companion bill A3845, would
increase penalties for aggravated animal cruelty committed in the presence of a child. S2470 is in the Senate Agriculture Committee; A2140 is in the Assembly Codes Committee. S728 passed the Senate and joined and A3845 in the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

New York A44 would create the crime of companion animal hoarding, defined as ownership, possession or custody of more than 25 companion animals living in conditions likely to jeopardize the health and well -being of the animals and/or people. Offenders would be required to undergo mental health evaluation and may be required to undergo counseling and be prohibited from owning animals. The bill is in the Agriculture Committee.

New York S1680 and companion bill A3038 would expand the definition of aggravated cruelty to animals to include harm to animals during the commission of a felony. S1680 passed the Senate on Jan. 30 and was referred to the Assembly Agriculture Committee; A3038 is in the Codes Committee.

New York S251 would expand animal fighting prohibitions to criminalize promoting, attending, facilitating, training, breeding or selling fighting animals, or selling, manufacturing or owning animal fighting paraphernalia. The bill is in the Agriculture Committee.

New York S621 and companion bill A4904 would require veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty to police, SPCAs, peace officers, district attorney’s offices, animal control officers, the department of agriculture and markets, or other appropriate government agencies and to turn over necessary records. New York veterinarians are currently permitted to report but are not required to do so. The bills, sponsored by Sen. Phil Boyle and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, are in the respective Higher Education Committees.

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