Assemblyman James N. Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady/Saratoga) recently announced he is introducing amendments to his Buster’s Law, which aims to protect pets from cruelty to include some horses under the auspices of domestic animals.
“It is tragic that the Hoosick Falls couple that murdered a horse could only have been slapped on the wrist with a misdemeanor under the state Agriculture and Markets Law,” said Tedisco. “In this case, the man who committed the act will face felony charges for burglary and criminal mischief, but it points out the flaw of not including horses under Buster’s Law.”
Tedisco was the driving force behind Buster's Law, which created 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 in 1997. Prior to this bill becoming law, animal cruelty resulted in only misdemeanor penalties, if any charges were imposed at all.
Since the 1997 arrest that inspired the creation of Buster's Law, the perpetrator who abused the cat has been imprisoned for various crimes, including attempted rape, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment of a 12-year-old girl.
“Anyone sick enough to kill an innocent, defenseless animal will be sick enough to attack our loved ones. They need to be remanded to prison and properly punished for their crimes,” said Tedisco. “FBI reports show that animal cruelty is an offense that often leads to other, more serious crimes against humans. Notorious serial killers Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz and Jeffrey Dahmer all had a history of abusing animals.”