ALBANY, NY—Scores of pet owners, animal advocates, rescues, shelters, veterinarians, law enforcement, legislators and other supporters gathered today in Albany to strengthen Buster’s animal cruelty law.
The first-ever New York State Animal Advocacy Day, which was held at the Well of the Legislative Office Building, sponser of the event Senator Greg Ball (R,C-Patterson) was joined by many other legislators from both sides of the aisle, at the event which enable d animal supporters to network and share information and then lobby their legislators to enact the toughest animal cruelty laws in the nation.
Ball was joined by stars of the National Geographic Channel show, Rescue Ink, a group of New York City/Long Island-based tattooed, motorcycle-riding tough guys on a mission to save animals in danger.
“ Persons who commit crimes against animals are the worst kind of people, the level of respect and kindness shown for an animals, creatures who cannot speak for themselves, or protect themselves and are easily abused and taken advantage of, is a fine predictor of how a person will treat their peers, violent and cruel behavior towards animals, cannot and should not be tolerated.”
In 1999, a statewide effort helped to collect over 118,000 signatures to pass the landmark Buster’s Law creating the felony category of “aggravated cruelty to animals,” punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Buster’s Law was named after an 18-month-old tabby cat that had been doused with kerosene and burned to death by a Schenectady teen. As research indicates, violence against animals is a bridge crime that can, and has, led to violence against people.
Among the bi-partisan legislation being advocated for are measures to: require anyone convicted of Buster’s Law to undergo a psychiatric evaluation (A.1580/S.5084 and A.1567/S.3805) and be placed on a registry of animal abusers (A.1506/S.3804). Senator Ball is sponsoring a bill in the senate which for the first time makes the act of participating in or wagering on animal fighting a misdemeanor, punishable by up one year in jail and a one thousand dollar fine. (S.3806 and A.4407/S.3237).
Senator Ball has also worked with the Putnam County Humane Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Westchester to create legislation regarding conditions in pet mills. The bill known as “Charlemagne’s Law, ” is named after a puppy given to Long Island resident Lorianne LaMarcha, which eventually needed to be euthanized due to illnesses as a result of being bred at a puppy mill.
Charlemagne, purchased at a pet store, was a birthday present to LaMarcha from her husband. Immediately, the LaMarchas noticed that the puppy had a severe cough, parasites, and an ulcer on his eye and took him to a vet. Although the store assured LaMarcha that the puppy was fit for sale and its health had been cleared by a vet, the LaMarcha’s veterinarian said the puppy was clearly unfit for sale. A year and thousands of dollars later, it was discovered that Charlemagne’s kidneys were not working. Forced to make the heart wrenching decision to euthanize the puppy so it would no longer suffer, LaMarcha began an investigation into how something so horrible could happen to a creature so innocent. It was uncovered that Charlemagne had been bred at a pet mill that was breeding tens of thousands of puppies every year.
Sadly, Charlemagne’s story is not unusual. Studies have shown that only one in every 117 pet-milled puppies, commonly sold in most pet stores, is healthy. Additionally, animal advocacy groups estimate that at least 4 million puppies and kittens are bred in pet mills annually. The same number of dogs die in shelters every year when their owners can no longer care for the pet.
Senator Ball’s full remarks can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2RqwcS0aKw
Ball is available for interviews about the statewide NYS Animal Advocacy Day. To speak with Senator Ball, call (845) 279-3773. For more information on NYS Animal Advocacy Day, visit the event’s Facebook page.