Assemblyman Joseph Saladino (R,C,I-Massapequa) today announced he is a supporter of a proposed bill, “Buster’s Bill II,” which would make the use of animals in the commission of a crime a felony offense punishable by up to two years in prison.
The bill, proposed by Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady- Saratoga) and sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Saladino and his colleagues was drafted in response to last week’s discovery that puppies were having their stomachs cut open and stuffed with heroin by Colombian drug lords, who then sent the animals to the United States.
Assemblyman Saladino called the incidents horrific and unconscionable. “It is beyond belief how an individual can do such a thing to an innocent and harmless animal,” said Saladino. “The individuals responsible for this must be punished swiftly and harshly.”
The original Buster’s Bill, signed into law in 1999, created the crime of ‘aggravated cruelty to animals,’ which carries a prison term of up to two years. Before Buster’s Bill, animal cruelty resulted only in misdemeanor charges, if any charges were brought at all.
“Buster’s Bill really established animal cruelty as a criminal offense and helped to show the public that law enforcement was serious about enforcing penalties for criminals who took advantage of animals,” said Saladino. “Buster’s Bill II is important because it goes a step further in punishing animal cruelty offenses, in turn acting as a deterrent to prevent crimes against animals altogether.”
Saladino noted the FBI reports animal cruelty is a crime that often leads to other, more serious crimes against humans. “Serial killers like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer had histories of abusing animals,” said Saladino. “If this isn’t enough reason to pass Buster’s Bill II, then I don’t know what is.”