In the Wake of Arrow Attacks on Pelham Bay Park Animals, Assemblymember Rosenthal Urges Passage of Her Bill to Make Cruelty to Wildlife a Felony

Recent attacks on Bronx wildlife needs stiffer penalties

New York, NY – After learning that innocent animals in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx are being stalked and viciously attacked by a blowgun-wielding assailant, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal urged swift passage in the upcoming legislative session of her bill, A.1843-D, to make cruelty to wildlife a felony-level offense in New York State.

In New York, only cruelty to companion animals, our beloved dogs and cats, qualifies as a felony-level offense. Cruelty to wildlife, such as ducks, chipmunks, swans, turtles and other non-companion animals does not subject one to a felony-level penalty. “Though these animals may not sleep in bed with us or jump into our laps, they are no less deserving of legal protection than are our pets, and clearly they are in desperate need of additional protection. Making wildlife cruelty a felony would have a strong deterrent effect,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.

The current incident is but the most recent in a string of cruel attacks against wildlife in the state. Just last week, a duck was discovered with an arrow protruding from its neck in North Patchogue; authorities have confirmed that the incident was not the result of a hunting accident. In 2010, a turtle was killed after two teenage boys doused the animal in gasoline, threw it in a fire pit and stabbed through its shell with a long pole.

“Recent research has shown that cruelty to animals is often a predictor of other violent behavior; that predictive quality is not limited to cruelty to companion animals. Charging potentially violent and dangerous individuals with felony-level crimes for abusing any animal, whether it be a dog or a duck, will provide law enforcement with additional tools to track down violent criminals,” said Rosenthal.

Rosenthal’s legislation, A.1843-D, would make a person guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals when a person, with no justifiable purpose, causes extreme physical pain to wildlife or does so in a way that is especially depraved or sadistic.