ALBANY, N.Y. — People convicted of extreme animal cruelty would be prohibited from owning a companion animal under legislation passed by the New York state Senate on Tuesday.
The Senate also voted to increase potential jail time and fines for aggravated animal cruelty and require offenders to undergo psychological testing.
The measures were passed on the Legislature’s annual animal advocacy day, which brought several dogs, captive owls, hawks, reptiles and one pony to the state Capitol for a day of lobbying and outreach.
“It’s the most bipartisan, nonpartisan day of the session,” said Republican Sen. James Tedisco of Glenville, the sponsor of the bills. “It’s a privilege to have an animal; it’s your responsibility to take care of them.”
Under one of the measures, the maximum penalties for aggravated animal cruelty would increase from two years in prison and a $5,000 fine to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The state Assembly already is considering their own version of the bills.
“It is essential that we speak up for animals and be their voice,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan, the sponsor of several animal welfare bills in the Assembly, including one that would outlaw the declawing of cats.
Another bill before lawmakers would make it a felony to harm a dog, cat or other companion animal during the commission of another felony, such as a burglary. That measure passed the Senate in January and awaits action by the Assembly.
Rosenthal’s bill prohibiting the surgical declawing of cats appears unlikely to get a vote in either chamber this year, thanks to opposition from the state’s leading veterinary organization, which argues the procedure must remain as a last option for felines that won’t stop scratching furniture or humans.