New York state senators were expected to advance a package of legislation Tuesday to prohibit animal abuse and neglect and increase the penalty for their mistreatment.
The seven bills include:
Ban on manufacture and sale of animal tested cosmetics: This bill, S.4839B, sponsored by Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, prohibits the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. The sale or manufacture of such products will be punishable by a fine amounting up to but no more than $5,000 for the first violation, and no more than $1,000 per day if the offense continues.
Clarifies aggravated cruelty to animals: This bill, S.960, sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger, eliminates the word “serious” from the "serious physical injury" language of the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals, to ensure appropriate penalties when a person intends to cause extreme physical pain to an animal, even if the animal makes a full recovery.
Abandoned animal property inspections: This bill, S.4081A, sponsored by Sen. Michelle Hinchey, will require landlords of vacated properties to inspect the property for abandoned animals within three days if they knew or should have known that the property had been vacated.
Puppy mill sales ban: This bill, S.1130, sponsored by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, prohibits the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits by retail pet shops, creating a barrier against the puppy mill supply chain and encouraging pet shops to partner with local animal shelters to showcase animals available for adoption.
Insurance discrimination dog breed: This bill, S.8315A, sponsored by Sen. Gianaris, bars insurance companies from excluding, limiting, restricting, or reducing coverage on an insurance policy for homeowners’ based on the breed of dog they own.
Veterinarian drug information: This bill, S.1289-B, sponsored by Sen. John Brooks, requires veterinarians to provide certain information to animal owners regarding the drugs dispensed to an animal. Such information includes the name and description of the drug, the directions for use, actions to be taken in the event of a missed dose, instructions for proper storage, any common reasonably anticipated adverse effects associated with the use of such drug, and manufacturer precautions and relevant warnings.
Big Five African Trophies Act: This bill, S.2814, sponsored by Sen. Luis Sepulveda, bans the importation, transportation and possession of certain African wildlife species and products. The five species include lions, leopards, elephants, black and white rhinos, and giraffes. All five species are facing extinction due to illegal poaching and trade.
“Our pets are like family to many of us, but unfortunately, there remain bad actors who abuse and abandon animals in harsh conditions," Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said Tuesday. "As Senate majority leader, I have emphasized the importance of animal welfare and how it reflects who we are as a society. This comprehensive package is necessary to combat the mistreatment, neglect and abuse of domestic animals. These bills also promote the proper care and consideration that animals deserve. I commend the bill sponsors, and we will continue to pass common-sense legislation to keep our animal friends out of harm’s way.”
The bill to require veterinarians to provide information to animal owners about drugs given to their animal passed the Assembly last week. The measure banning the manufacturing and sale of animal-tested products is expected to be voted on in the Assembly in the coming days.
Gianaris' bill to ban dog, cat, or rabbit sales in retail pet shops sits in the Assembly Codes Committee. The Assembly counterpart to his bill to prevent insurance companies from excluding or restricting coverage based on the breed of dog a homeowner owns passed the lower house March 30.
“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores," said Gianaris, a Democrat from Queens. "Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities. I am pleased this important proposal continues to build momentum in the Legislature.”
The measure to clarify language to charge a person with aggravated cruelty to animals remains in the Assembly Agriculture Committee. The Big Five African Trophies Act has sat in the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee since Jan. 6.
Hinchey's bill to require landlords to inspect vacated properties for abandoned animals within three days has not been reintroduced in the Assembly since it died in the chamber after last session.