A00696 Summary:

BILL NOA00696
 
SAME ASSAME AS S00090
 
SPONSORZebrowski
 
COSPNSR
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd §§350 & 374, rpld & add §351, add §§351-a, 351-b, 351-c & 351-d, Ag & Mkts L; amd §70.06, Pen L
 
Relates to promoting animal fighting and appropriately punishing individuals associated with such activities.
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A00696 Actions:

BILL NOA00696
 
01/06/2021referred to agriculture
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A00696 Committee Votes:

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A00696 Floor Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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A00696 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A696
 
SPONSOR: Zebrowski
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law and the penal law, in relation to detecting, disrupting and dismantling violent enterprise animal cruelty and appropriately punishing individuals associated with such enterprise cruelty; and to repeal certain provisions of the agri- culture and markets law relating thereto   PURPOSE: This bill seeks to clarify and enhance the animal crimes laws of New York State as they pertain to animal fighting. It does so by introducing anew felony level offense for enterprise animal fighting, consolidating definitions, stratifying levels of offense, altering penalty classifica- tions, and harmonizing provisions with the criminal procedure law and the penal law.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill predominately dissects and modifies the existing. section 351 of the agriculture and markets law, which currently houses the various level offenses which pertain to animal Fights. As it currently stands, section 351 contains a definitions section as well as proscribed conduct sections. Unlike other modern criminal law statutes, the one section houses multiple classifications of crime: including unclassified felo- nies, unclassified misdemeanors, and class B misdemeanors. Section three of this bill transfers the pre-existing definitions of "animal fighting" and "animal fighting paraphernalia" out of section 351 and into section 350 of the agriculture and markets law (section 350 is the "definitions" section for the overarching article). The definition of "animal fighting paraphernalia" is substantively unchanged. The defi- nition of "animal fighting" is streamlined but possesses no change of legal import. section four of this bill repeals the existing section 351 in its entirety and breaks it into three successive criminal statutes (proposed sections 351 (Promoting Animal Fighting in the Third Degree), 351-a Promoting Animal Fighting in the Second Degree), and 351-b (Promoting Animal Fighting- in the First Degree)). The proposed section 351 contains vestiges of the existing subdivisions (6) and (5) of section 351. Specifically, section 351(6)(a), which pertains to animal fighting paraphernalia, serves as the foundation for the proposed section 351(1). Sec':ion 351(5)(b), which pertains to the knowing attendance of an animal ;sight, serves as the foundation for the proposed section. 351(2). Both offenses remain class B misdemeanors despite the transfer; however, with the addition of language that harmonizes these class B misdemeanors with penal law misdemeanors, violators are subjected to the taking of finger-palmprints, and mugshots (as with any penal law misdemeanor). The proposed section 351(1) also replaces the concept of "intentional" possession, which is virtually unique among possession-based crimes, with language that harmonizes the level of proof to other existing passages of section 351 (most notably as they relate to possession of animals themselves). Section five of this bill creates the new crime of Promoting Animal Fighting in the Second Degree, which, in turn, derives its passages from the existing subdivisions (3) and (4) of section 351. Substantive changes to those passages are as follows: (1) the proposed 351-a(1) includes language of "facilitation" of animal fighting, which thusly now includes "bait animals"; (2) the proposed 351-a(2) and 351-a(3) (a) predicate higher penalties on a broader classification of animal crimes offenses, rather than limiting the higher penalty thresholds to a strict re-offense of a specific clause of the statute; (3) violation of the offense now allows for the taking of fingerprints, palmprints, and mugshot at the time of arrest processing. Section six of this bill creates the new crime of Promoting Animal Fighting in the First Degree, which, in turn, derives its passages from the existing subdivision (2) of section 351. The passages are for the most part transferred without substantive modification, except that the inclusion of the word "transfers" in the language of the proposed 351-b(3) allows for criminal liability without proof of an actual exchange of assets. The penalty for violation of these provisions is also upgraded from an unclassified felony (which otherwise functions as a class E felony) to a class D felony. Section seven of this bill creates the new crime of Promoting Enterprise Animal Fighting, which serves to elevate the penalty for highly-organ- ized criminal fighting ventures. In order to violate this statute, an offender must (a) be a participant in a "continuous exhibition of animal fighting that includes more than two animals in successive acts of animal fighting," (b) be in possession of "more than six animals under circumstances evincing an intent that such animals engage in, or other- wise facilitate, animal fighting," (c) host a "continuous exhibition of animal fighting that includes more than two -animals in successive acts of animal fighting," or (d) repeatedly offend the provisions protecting animals from cruelty. Section eight of this bill truncates and transplants the authorized sentencing provisions of the existing section 351 into a separate stat- ute as well as adds an opposite sentencing range for the newly created offense of Promoting Enterprise Animal Fighting. Section nine of this bill conforms the special sentencing provisions of section 374 to the aforesaid statutory changes. Section ten of this bill eliminates a bizarre loophole in the penal law whereby a repeat felony offender of the animal cruelty provisions cannot be eligible for second felony offender status. It is noted that, pursu- ant to section 70.70 of the penal law, a third-time offender of the animal cruelty provisions can be eligible for persistent felony offender status. Section eleven of this bill consists of a severability clause. Section twelve of this bill consists of its effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: This bill will dramatically impact the state's enforcement of animal fighting, most notably dog- and cock-fighting. According to some esti- mates, dogfighting is a billion-dollar underground economy - just in the United States, Some studies put the United States' share of this enter- prise at a full third of the global dogfighting economy. Money is not only made by abhorrent wagers on the outcomes of fights, but also through the illicit breeding, marketing, trading, and sale of dogs. Professional fighters will market the bloodlines of their winners, make money off of forced breeding sessions (whether successful or not), and sell litters as fast as they can be produced. The underground industry is such that, besides the fighters, there are individuals who specialize as "promoters" of fights, as breeders, as trainers, and as sellers. Because the activity must go undetected, there is also a strong subver- sive demand for medications, specialized equipment, veterinary services, and "dark web" communication platforms (unregistered internet sites, invisible to public view). Another awful truth of this already-atro- cious enterprise is that fighters will sometimes steal animals from their surrounding community small dogs or cats - to use for bait or training for their kennels. Due to the financial benefits of this enter- prise, animal fighting often serves as an underground economy for narcotics and weapons traffickers. The current laws in effect for combating animal fighting are insuffi- cient to deter perpetrators from the possible financial benefits of participation. In Nassau County, an individual was recently captured and convicted for a fourth dogfighting offense in 16 years. Indeed, in the most recent case, he was rearrested on new animal fighting charges while on parole for only one month following release from his last felony c(:nviction. His sentencing exposure for the most recent arrest remained capped at 1 and 1/3 to 4 years' incarceration, with early release eligi- bility much sooner than the full term. The concept that highly organ- ized, underground criminal enterprises, no matter how sophisticated or connected with other illegal enterprises, can only be punished at a class E felony level is inherently faulty. Equally faulty is the concept that current misdemeanor animal fighting charges do not allow for the capture of fingerprints, palmprints, or mugshots upon arrest. As animal fighting is almost always multiple animals being abused simul- taneously, the sentencing and penalty structure should be modified to take. this "exponential" aspect into account. This bill recognizes the seriousness and pervasiveness of the underground world of animal fight- ing, its financial appeal, its associated crimes, and its weak enforce- ment, and moves to correct it with measured and reasonable levels of criminal liability.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A7727 of 2019-20   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become law,
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A00696 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                           696
 
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                       (Prefiled)
 
                                     January 6, 2021
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  ZEBROWSKI  --  read once and referred to the
          Committee on Agriculture
 
        AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law and the  penal  law,  in
          relation  to  detecting, disrupting and dismantling violent enterprise
          animal cruelty and appropriately punishing individuals associated with
          such enterprise cruelty; and to repeal certain provisions of the agri-
          culture and markets law relating thereto
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  Section 350 of the agriculture and markets law is amended
     2  by adding two new subdivisions 6 and 7 to read as follows:
     3    6. "Animal fighting" means any fight between animals, or  between  any
     4  animal  and  a  person or persons, for amusement or gain. The term shall
     5  not be construed to include exhibitions of a kind commonly  featured  at
     6  rodeos.
     7    7. "Animal fighting paraphernalia" means equipment, products, or mate-
     8  rials  of  any kind that are used, intended for use, or designed for use
     9  in the training, preparation,  conditioning  or  furtherance  of  animal
    10  fighting.  Animal  fighting paraphernalia includes (i) a breaking stick,
    11  which means a device designed for insertion behind the molars of  a  dog
    12  for  the purpose of breaking the dog's grip on another animal or object,
    13  (ii) a cat mill, which means a device  that  rotates  around  a  central
    14  support  with  one  arm designed to secure a dog and one arm designed to
    15  secure a cat, rabbit, or other small animal beyond the grasp of the dog,
    16  (iii) a treadmill, which means  an  exercise  device  consisting  of  an
    17  endless  belt on which the animal walks or runs without changing places,
    18  (iv) a springpole, which means a biting surface attached to a  stretcha-
    19  ble  device,  suspended  at  a  height  sufficient to prevent a dog from
    20  reaching the biting surface while touching the ground,  (v)  a  fighting
    21  pit,  which  means a walled area, or otherwise defined area, designed to
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD01195-01-1

        A. 696                              2
 
     1  contain an animal fight, and (vi) any other instrument commonly used  in
     2  the furtherance of pitting an animal against another animal.
     3    §  2. Section 351 of the agriculture and markets law is REPEALED and a
     4  new section 351 is added to read as follows:
     5    § 351. Promoting animal fighting in the  third  degree.  A  person  is
     6  guilty  of  promoting  animal  fighting  in  the  third degree when such
     7  person:
     8    1. Owns, possesses, sells, transfers or manufactures  animal  fighting
     9  paraphernalia under circumstances evincing an intent that such parapher-
    10  nalia  be  used  to  engage in or otherwise promote or facilitate animal
    11  fighting; or
    12    2. Is present at any place where an exhibition of animal  fighting  is
    13  being conducted and such person has knowledge that such an exhibition is
    14  being conducted.
    15    Promoting animal fighting in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor
    16  and,  for purposes of paragraph (b) of subdivision one of section 160.10
    17  of the criminal procedure law, shall be treated as a misdemeanor defined
    18  in the penal law.
    19    § 3. The agriculture and markets law is amended  by  adding  four  new
    20  sections 351-a, 351-b, 351-c and 351-d to read as follows:
    21    §  351-a.  Promoting animal fighting in the second degree. A person is
    22  guilty of promoting animal fighting  in  the  second  degree  when  such
    23  person:
    24    1.  Owns,  possesses, or keeps any animal under circumstances evincing
    25  an intent that such animal engage in, or in any way  facilitate,  animal
    26  fighting; or
    27    2.  Commits the crime of promoting animal fighting in the third degree
    28  in violation of subdivision one of section three  hundred  fifty-one  of
    29  this  article and has been convicted within the previous five years of a
    30  violation of  this  section,  section  three  hundred  fifty-one,  three
    31  hundred  fifty-one-b,  three  hundred  fifty-three, three hundred fifty-
    32  three-a,  three  hundred  fifty-six,  three  hundred  fifty-nine,  three
    33  hundred sixty-one, or three hundred sixty-six of this article; or
    34    3.  Commits the crime of promoting animal fighting in the third degree
    35  in violation of subdivision two of section three  hundred  fifty-one  of
    36  this article, and:
    37    (a)  has  been convicted within the previous five years of a violation
    38  of this section, section three hundred fifty-one, three  hundred  fifty-
    39  one-b,  three  hundred  fifty-three,  three hundred fifty-three-a, three
    40  hundred fifty-six, three hundred fifty-nine, three hundred sixty-one, or
    41  three hundred sixty-six of this article, or
    42    (b) has paid an admission fee, made a  wager,  or  otherwise  actively
    43  contributed,  in  any manner, to the exhibition of animal fighting being
    44  conducted.
    45    Promoting animal fighting in the second degree is a class A  misdemea-
    46  nor  and,  for  purposes  of paragraph (b) of subdivision one of section
    47  160.10 of the criminal procedure law, shall be treated as a  misdemeanor
    48  defined in the penal law.
    49    §  351-b.  Promoting  animal fighting in the first degree. A person is
    50  guilty of promoting animal  fighting  in  the  first  degree  when  such
    51  person:
    52    1. Causes an animal to engage in animal fighting;
    53    2.  Trains  an animal under circumstances evincing an intent that such
    54  animal engage in animal fighting;

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     1    3. Breeds, transfers, sells,  or  offers  for  sale  an  animal  under
     2  circumstances  evincing  an  intent  that  such  animal engage in animal
     3  fighting;
     4    4.  Permits any act described in subdivision one, two or three of this
     5  section to occur on premises under his or her control; or
     6    5. Owns, possesses, harbors, or keeps any animal on premises where  an
     7  exhibition  of  animal  fighting  is being conducted under circumstances
     8  evincing an intent that such animal engage in animal fighting.
     9    Promoting animal fighting in the first degree is a class D felony.
    10    § 351-c. Promoting enterprise animal fighting. A person is  guilty  of
    11  promoting enterprise animal fighting when such person:
    12    1.  Commits the crime of promoting animal fighting in the first degree
    13  in violation of subdivision one of section three hundred fifty-one-b  of
    14  this  article  as  part  of,  during, or in connection with a continuous
    15  exhibition of animal fighting that includes more  than  two  animals  in
    16  successive acts of animal fighting;
    17    2.  Commits the crime of promoting animal fighting in the first degree
    18  in violation of subdivision  two  or  three  of  section  three  hundred
    19  fifty-one-b  of  this  article  and  is  in  possession of more than six
    20  animals under circumstances evincing an intent that such animals  engage
    21  in, or otherwise facilitate, animal fighting;
    22    3.  Permits  an  act  described  in  subdivision  one of section three
    23  hundred fifty-one-b of this article to occur on premises  under  his  or
    24  her  control, where such act is a continuous exhibition of animal fight-
    25  ing that includes more than two animals in  successive  acts  of  animal
    26  fighting; or
    27    4.  Commits the crime of promoting animal fighting in the first degree
    28  in violation of section three hundred fifty-one-b of  this  article  and
    29  has  been  convicted,  within the previous five years, of a violation of
    30  section  three  hundred  fifty-one,  three  hundred  fifty-one-a,  three
    31  hundred  fifty-one-b,  three  hundred  fifty-three, three hundred fifty-
    32  three-a,  three  hundred  fifty-six,  three  hundred  fifty-nine,  three
    33  hundred sixty-one, or three hundred sixty-six of this article.
    34    Promoting  enterprise animal fighting in the first degree is a class C
    35  felony.
    36    § 351-d. Authorized dispositions; promoting animal fighting.   When  a
    37  person  is convicted of an offense defined in subdivision one of section
    38  three hundred fifty-one-a of this article, in addition to the  penalties
    39  provided in section three hundred seventy-four of this article and those
    40  provided  in  the  other laws of this state, the court may impose a fine
    41  which shall not exceed  fifteen  thousand  dollars.  When  a  person  is
    42  convicted  of an offense defined in section three hundred fifty-one-b of
    43  this article, in addition to the penalties  provided  in  section  three
    44  hundred  seventy-four  of  this  article and those provided in the other
    45  laws of this state, the court may impose a fine which shall  not  exceed
    46  twenty-five  thousand  dollars. When a person is convicted of an offense
    47  defined in section three hundred fifty-one-c of this article,  in  addi-
    48  tion  to the penalties provided in section three hundred seventy-four of
    49  this article and those provided in the other laws  of  this  state,  the
    50  court  may  impose  a  fine  which shall not exceed thirty-five thousand
    51  dollars.
    52    § 4. Paragraph a of subdivision 8 of section 374  of  the  agriculture
    53  and  markets  law,  as  amended  by  chapter 594 of the laws of 2003 and
    54  subdivision 8 as renumbered by chapter 479  of  the  laws  of  2009,  is
    55  amended to read as follows:

        A. 696                              4
 
     1    a.  In  addition to any other penalty provided by law, upon conviction
     2  for any violation of section  three  hundred  fifty-one,  three  hundred
     3  fifty-one-a, three hundred fifty-one-b, three hundred fifty-one-c, three
     4  hundred  fifty-three,  three hundred fifty-three-a, three hundred fifty-
     5  three-b,  three  hundred  fifty-five,  three  hundred  fifty-six,  three
     6  hundred fifty-nine, three hundred sixty, three hundred sixty-one,  three
     7  hundred  sixty-five  or  three  hundred sixty-eight of this article, the
     8  convicted person may, after a duly held hearing pursuant to paragraph  f
     9  of  this  subdivision,  be  ordered  by  the court to forfeit, to a duly
    10  incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or a  duly
    11  incorporated  humane society or authorized agents thereof, the animal or
    12  animals which are the basis of the conviction. Upon  such  an  order  of
    13  forfeiture,  the  convicted  person shall be deemed to have relinquished
    14  all rights to the animals which are the basis of the conviction,  except
    15  those granted in paragraph d of this subdivision.
    16    § 5. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 70.06 of the penal law,
    17  as  amended  by  chapter  410 of the laws of 1979, is amended to read as
    18  follows:
    19    (a) A second felony offender is a person, other than a second  violent
    20  felony  offender  as defined in section 70.04, who stands convicted of a
    21  felony [defined in this chapter], other than a class A-I  felony,  after
    22  having  previously  been  subjected  to  one  or  more  predicate felony
    23  convictions as defined in paragraph (b) of this subdivision.
    24    § 6. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi-
    25  sion, section or part of this act shall be  adjudged  by  any  court  of
    26  competent  jurisdiction  to  be invalid, such judgment shall not affect,
    27  impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall  be  confined  in
    28  its  operation  to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section
    29  or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judg-
    30  ment shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of
    31  the legislature that this act would  have  been  enacted  even  if  such
    32  invalid provisions had not been included herein.
    33    §  7.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
    34  have become a law.
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