Pictured are Assemblyman Tedisco, his corgi Gracie; Senator Greg Ball; Rescue Ink; Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and her dog Peanut; Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin; News 10 Meteorologist, and Host of Pet Connection, Steve Caporizzo; and many supporters on the stairs of the Well of the Legislative Office Building in Albany, NY.
The first-ever New York State Animal Advocacy Day, which was held at the Well of the Legislative Office Building, was sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) and Senator Greg Ball (R,C-Patterson) along with many other legislators from both sides of the aisle to enable animal supporters to network and share information and then lobby their legislators to enact the toughest animal cruelty laws in the nation.
Tedisco and Ball were 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.
“Animals are our friends, companions and part of many of our families. They comfort us when we’re alone. We need them. But they need us to stand up against animal abuse,” said Tedisco, former Minority Leader and current Assistant Minority Whip, who has two dogs and two cats. “We’ve come a long way since we passed Buster’s Law, but still there are miles to go to protect all members of our families.”
“Persons who commit crimes against animals are the worst kind of people, the level of respect and kindness shown for an animal, 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 toward animals cannot and should not be tolerated,” said Ball.
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) as well as bills to increase penalties for animal fighting (S.3806 and A.4407/S.3237).
For more information on NYS Animal Advocacy Day, visit the event’s Facebook page.