Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi has proposed a bill to move animal abuse crimes from the Agriculture Markets Law into the Penal Law, a change which he and CNY SPCA note is long overdue. According to Brindisi, “Many animal abuse laws were written 50 years ago. And most judges and lawyers are just not familiar with agriculture market laws as they are with the penal law . . . When you have a case of animal cruelty, the courts and lawyers may not consider them “real crimes” with animal abuse, even when they are in fact severe crimes.” Unfortunately, I think this mindset probably exists amongst the general public as well, and this bill proposal is a means of addressing the problem. Recent cases of animal abuse across Central New York, as disturbing as they are, may be just the momentum needed to enforcing harsher punishments for violators of animal cruelty.
CNY SPCA executive director Paul Morgan also points out that a transition to the penal law would be easier for law enforcement since this is an area in which they are obviously more familiar. Legislation will be reintroduced to lawmakers this coming January. In order to gain the necessary support from the Senate, the assemblyman is urging members of the community to do their part. Advocacy and awareness are key components in shedding light on a particular issue and are often the driving factors in effecting change. Anyone interested in lending their support is urged to write or call your state legislator.