NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A2152
SPONSOR: Rosenthal L
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to aggra-
vated cruelty to animals
This bill removes the term "serious" from the "serious physical injury"
language of Section 353-a of the agriculture and markets law.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section one amends Subdivision 1 of section 353-a of the agriculture and
markets law, as added by chapter 118 of the laws of 1999.
Section two sets forth the effective date.
In June 2014 on Staten Island, Rocky, an English bulldog, was the victim
of a terrible act of cruelty when a neighbor threw ammonia in his face
in an attempt to quiet his barking. By the time they brought Rocky to
the vet, he had ulcers in both his eyes and the vet wasn't sure if he
would ever see again. Thankfully, Rocky was able to make a full recov-
ery, yet this recovery also gave the perpetrator a way out. Due to the
language of the felony animal cruelty statute, a charge could not be
sustained. The dog's recovery conflicted with the prosecutor's interpre-
tation of "serious physical injury". This meant that because the dog
survived and recovered 100%, the perpetrator would be facing a lesser
The Times Union reports that only 17% of those charged with felony
aggravated cruelty to animals end up in felony convictions in New York
State. In this case, the perpetrator was given conditional discharge
after being convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, and forced
to pay $1,000 to the ASPCA for the dog's medical treatment. Also, the
perpetrator may not go near Rocky, and may never be allowed to own a dog
again. It is evident the punishment does not fit the crime. Eliminating
the word "serious" from the statute would fix this, so if a person's
actions were intended to cause extreme physical pain or conducted in an
especially depraved or sadistic manner (language from section 353-a of
the Agriculture and Markets law), one would only have to prove that the
animal was killed or injured.
2019-20: A.757 - Referred to Agriculture; S.2723 - Advanced to Third
2017-18: A.3844 - Referred to Agriculture; S.4163 - Referred to Agricul-
2015-16: A.6252 - Referred to Agriculture; S.4265 - Passed Senate
None to the State.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
January 14, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. L. ROSENTHAL, WEPRIN -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M.
of A. HEVESI -- read once and referred to the Committee on Agriculture
AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to aggra-
vated cruelty to animals
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 353-a of the agriculture and
2 markets law, as added by chapter 118 of the laws of 1999, is amended to
3 read as follows:
4 1. A person is guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals when, with no
5 justifiable purpose, he or she intentionally kills or intentionally
6 causes [serious] physical injury to a companion animal with aggravated
7 cruelty. For purposes of this section, "aggravated cruelty" shall mean
8 conduct which: (i) is intended to cause extreme physical pain; or (ii)
9 is done or carried out in an especially depraved or sadistic manner.
10 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.