Bill would prevent abusers from working around animals

Legislative Gazette file photo

The Senate passed a measure to improve animal protections in New York, specifically, by making sure animal abusers are banned from ever working around animals again.

The bill (S.2937/A.3903), sponsored by Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, R-Elma, would prevent animal abusers from working in any position that puts them in control of animal care.

Co sponsors of the Senate version include Sens. Tony Avella, D-Whitestone, and Michael H. Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst.

The measure passed the Senate last Wednesday and resides in the Assembly Agriculture  Committee.

The Assembly version is sponsored by Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, and co sponsored by Aileen Gunther, D-Forestburgh; Sandy Galef, D-Ossining; and Walter T. Mosley, D-Brooklyn.

“This bill will help protect animals across New York state from abuse,” Gallivan said. “Too often people who have been convicted of abusing animals work or obtain jobs at shelters intended to protect animals.”

According to the bill, abuse would include actions such as overworking an animal; torturing, beating, maiming, mutilating or killing a wild or tame animal; or depriving an animal of food and drink.

Any person previously convicted of any of these violations would be prohibited from accepting or remaining in a position as a dog control officer, animal control officer or a paid employee or volunteer at any establishment such as an animal shelter, pound, or humane society.

The law would make such violations a class A misdemeanor. Currently, there is no law preventing abusers from obtaining employment in these positions.

According to the bill sponsors, strengthening animal protections is imperative because research shows a connection between animal cruelty, domestic violence, mental health and child abuse.

The bill would amend the current Agriculture and Markets Law and will take effect on the 30th day after signed into law.

“We don’t allow child abusers to work in day care centers and we should not permit animal abusers to hold positions in which they oversee the care of dogs, cats or other animals” Sen. Gallivan said.