Assemblyman James N. Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today renewed his call for stricter animal cruelty laws on the heels of a disturbing case of pet abuse in nearby North Adams. According to police, a man killed as many as 14 pet rabbits belonging to a 6-year-old girl. Tedisco described the behavior as frightening and said it demonstrated the need to stiffen penalties for animal abuse.
“The actions of this man are absolutely disturbing. Tearing apart a little girl’s rabbits with his bare hands, stomping on them; I am in complete agreement with the victim’s mother – this man is a monster and should be treated as such,” said Tedisco, who authored Buster’s Law. “For the safety of our pets and the safety of our communities, we need to treat these crimes for what they are: heinous acts by individuals who we have seen in the past have gone on to commit even more disturbing offenses against humans. It has the classic elements of a bridge crime.”
Tedisco’s Buster’s Law makes it a felony to commit certain types of animal abuse. Violators can receive up to two years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. Tedisco pointed to measures he said were necessary to further protect pets and punish animal abusers. He introduced a bill, A8444, which would raise the penalties from maximum fines of $5,000 to $10,000 and prison terms from two years to four years. The bill would also require courts to order violators to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if treatment is necessary.
Tedisco also is pushing for a registry of individuals convicted of animal abuse to be utilized by pet stores, animal shelters and breeders. It would bar individuals convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals until they have been deemed mentally fit to do so. Tedisco noted many animal offenders have serious psychological problems which can lead to more violent crime.
“There is an established link between certain kinds of violence against animals and eventual violence against people. Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, David ‘Son of Sam’ Berkowitz, and Albert DeSalvo, better known as ‘The Boston Strangler,’ all had a history of abusing animals before they turned their hatred to people.”