BILL NO A04514
SAME AS SAME AS S02566
SPONSOR Tedisco (MS)
COSPNSR Malliotakis, Katz, Corwin, Butler, McDonough, Giglio, Tenney,
Brook-Krasny, McLaughlin, Stevenson
MLTSPNSR Arroyo, Barclay, Ceretto, Colton, Crouch, Finch, Johns, Kolb,
McKevitt, Miller, Montesano, Oaks, Rabbitt, Raia, Rivera, Saladino,
Thiele, Titone, Weisenberg
Amd S353-a, Ag & Mkts L
Prohibits a person convicted of "Buster's Law" from owning or possessing a
companion animal unless authorized by court order, after appropriate
psychiatric or psychological testing.
TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to limiting the
ownership or possession of companion animals by persons convicted of
violating "Buster's Law"
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To increase
penalties (maximum prison sentences and maximum fines) for engaging in
animal fighting and committing the crime of Aggravated Cruelty to
Animals (aka Buster's Law) and require psychiatric evaluation/treatment
for those committing the crime of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Amends subdivision 2 of section 351 of Agriculture and
Markets Law to increase the maximum prison sentence from four to six
years, and increase the maximum fine from $25,000 to $30,000, for any
person who engages in the following felony conduct: (1) for amusement or
gain causes an animal to engage in animal fighting; or (2) trains any
animal with an intent that such animal engage in animal fighting; or (3)
breeds, sells or offers for sale, any animal with the intent that such
animal engage in animal fighting; or (4) permits any of the
aforementioned acts to occur on a premises under his or her control; or
(4) owns, possesses or keeps an animal trained to engage in animal
fighting on the premises where animal fighting is being conducted with
the intent that such animal engage in animal fighting.
Section 2: Amends paragraph (a) of subdivision 3 of section 351 of
Agriculture and Markets Law to increase the penalty for any person who
owns, possesses or keeps an animal with the intent to engage such animal
in animal fighting, from a misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year of
jail and/or a fine not to exceed $15,000) to a felony (punishable by up
to four years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $20,000).
Section 3: Amends paragraph (a) of subdivision 4 of section 351 of
Agriculture and Markets Law to increase the penalty for a person who is
knowingly present as a spectator having paid an admission fee or made a
wager at any place where an exhibition of animal fighting is being
conducted, from a misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year of jail
and/or a fine not to exceed $1,000) to a felony (punishable by up to two
years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000).
Section 4: Amends subdivision 3 of section 353-a of Agriculture and
Markets Law to increase the penalty for the crime of Aggravated Cruelty
to Animals, committed when a person, for no justifiable purpose,
intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a
companion animal with aggravated cruelty, from a felony (punishable by a
definite sentence not to exceed two years and/or a fine not to exceed
$5,000) to a felony (punishable by up to four years imprisonment and/or
a fine not to exceed $10,000). Section 4 also directs the court to
require any person convicted of or adjudicated a youthful offender for
the crime of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals to under psychiatric
evaluation/treatment at his or her own expense.
Section 5: Effective date.
The recent media fury surrounding Atlanta Falcon Michael Vick's dog
fighting case including allegations that he brutally executed dogs not
considered vicious or aggressive enough has focused attention on the
gruesome world of animal fighting.
According to the U.S. Humane Society, dog fighting is illegal in all 50
states and the District of Columbia. Forty-eight states and the District
of Columbia have made dog fighting a felony offense; 47 states prohibit
the possession of dogs for fighting and 46 states prohibit being a
spectator at a dog fight. In July 2007, the Humane Society ranked New
York State 44th among states in the severity of its dog fighting laws.
While the state considers dog fighting a felony, being a spectator
(having paid an admission or made a bet) at these fights or owning or
possessing a dog with the intent to use it in a dogfight are only
misdemeanors. This bill would create felony penalties for these acts,
significantly increasing both applicable prison terms and fines, to
provide more meaningful deterrents against this blood sport.
The maximum prison term for the crime of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals
(aka Buster's Law), the intentional killing or intentionally causing
serious physical injury to a companion animal with animal cruelty is
only two years and/or a $5,000 fine. Animal cruelty is viewed by experts
as an indicator for future violence against humans. This bill would
increase the maximum prison sentence to four years and maximum fine to
$10,000, making the punishment more fitting of the crime.
Animal cruelty is viewed by experts as an indicator for future violence
against humans. Since his 1997 arrest that led to "Buster's Law,"
Chester Williamson has been imprisoned numerous times for crimes
including Possession of Stolen Property and Attempted Burglary. In Fall
2007 his criminal path took a predictable turn with his arrest for
attempted rape, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment of a 12-year-old
girl. Requiring early intervention in the form of psychiatric evaluation
and treatment would be another tool in the attempt to modify behavior
patterns to halt this pattern for escalating abuse.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2012: A.1520, Referred to Agriculture, Held for Consideration
2011: A.1520, Referred to Agriculture
2010: A8444, referred to agriculture
2009: A8444, referred to agriculture
2008: A9613, Held for consideration in agriculture
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
This act shall take effect immediately.