Staten Island Legislators Celebrate Animal Advocacy Day

Staten Island Assembly members Joseph Borelli, Nicole Malliotakis and Matthew Titone are joined at Animal Advocacy Day by their dogs, Winston, Peanut and Bari, respectively.

Assembly members Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn, Staten Island), Joseph Borelli (R,C,I-Staten Island) and Matthew Titone (D-North Shore) today celebrated Animal Advocacy Day in Albany. The event brought together legislators, their pets, animal advocacy groups and law enforcement officials to discuss ways to better protect and care for our four-legged friends. All three legislators, dog owners themselves, are sponsors of multiple pieces of legislation to protect animals and increase penalties against animal abusers.

“Animal Advocacy Day is both a celebration of our four-legged friends and an opportunity to rally support for legislation to protect defenseless animals that have no voice,” said Malliotakis. “Throughout this session, I have been a proponent for animal-related legislation, especially my legislation to prohibit animals from tattooing, piercings, and unnecessary cosmetic or aesthetic surgeries. Having Peanut with me today provided a great opportunity to put a real face alongside this important legislation. Our pets are some of our closest companions, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to make sure that New York has the toughest penalties possible for anyone who harms or neglects an animal.”

Malliotakis originally introduced the legislation in 2012 after viewing “Pet Crazy,” a 20/20 documentary about animal owners who gave their pets surgical procedures with no medical benefit, often for cosmetic or aesthetic purposes, such as tattoos, piercings, and tummy tucks. Malliotakis renewed her calls for the bill’s passage this year after the New York Post carried a story about Brooklyn tattoo artist “Mistah Metro,” who bragged about inking his dog with a heart and his wife’s name while the animal was drugged after surgery.

“Animal Advocacy Day is a day that truly lets us recognize the companionship between animals and their owners,” said Assemblyman Borelli. “Pets are often our closest counterparts, offering us emotional support in times of need and simply always being there for us. I am here today at the Capitol with my dog, Winston, who has been loyal from the start; I can’t imagine him going through some of the abuse stories that you hear time and time again. I look forward to future discussions with organizations like the ASPCA and other animal advocacy groups about important measures that allow more protections for animals.”

Said Assemblyman Titone, “Animal Advocacy Day is a great opportunity for us to put aside partisanship for puppies. Aside from my resolution declaring this ‘Pet Week’ in New York State, I have introduced legislation recognizing Service and Working Dogs as the Official State Dog.” Titone continued, “Every day, service and working dogs protect, comfort, and give their friendship and affection. Recognizing the efforts of the working dog fosters a better appreciation of dogs and their contributions to the betterment of our lives.”

Assemblyman Titone added, “In the aftermath of 9/11, nearly 100 search and rescue dogs and their brave handlers combed Ground Zero, working around the clock to locate survivors and casualties. On May 2, 2011, after weeks of training and drills, military working dog Cairo joined SEAL Team 6 on their successful mission to locate Osama bin Laden. The service/working dog embodies the spirit of New York – hardworking, loyal, and eager to serve.”