In response to an incident that occurred this past November involving a three-year old dog who was found on the road injured after being thrown from a car window, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and State Senator Andrew Lanza have introduced five bills to address animal cruelty.
“As an animal lover and owner of two dogs, I will do everything I can to prevent animal cruelty, but you don’t need to feel some special affection toward animals to take issue with such unsettling behavior,” said Malliotakis. “Animal cruelty is often evidence of deeper, more serious issues within the person committing the crime that have led to similar crimes against humans.”
Nonetheless, however, Malliotakis continued, “Oftentimes, these crimes against the defenseless result in merely a slap on the wrist.”
The first bill would establish the crime of aggravated cruelty to an animal when a person uses a weapon to cause extreme physical pain or serious physical injury to one. Another bill would create an additional means of establishing the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals when a person has been convicted of animal cruelty in the past.
Legislation has also been introduced that would elevate the penalty for killing an animal while exhibiting cruelty toward that animal. Currently, the penalties are the same for causing serious physical injury and causing death to an animal. But, this new legislation would make the penalty more severe if the animal is killed.
Malliotakis and Lanza also introduced a final bill that would establish the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals when a person injures or kills an animal due to behavior evincing a depraved indifference to the life of the animal.
“This package of legislation will go a long way in protecting defenseless creatures, properly punishing those who seek to harm them and prevent them from committing similar acts again,” stressed Malliotakis.