(WSYR-TV) - After several recent cases of animal abuse all across Central New York, some people in the community are asking why violators aren't facing harsher punishments.
One local lawmaker says there's a good reason for that.
"Many animal abuse laws were written 50 years ago. And most judges and lawyers are just not familiar with agriculture market laws as they are with the penal law," says Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, a democrat representing District 119 in the Mohawk Valley.
So what does that mean for animal abusers?
"When you have a case of animal cruelty, the courts and lawyers may not consider them "real crimes" with animal abuse, even when they are in fact severe crimes," says Assemblyman Brindisi.
That's why Assemblyman Brindisi, proposed a bill to move animal abuse crimes from the Agriculture Markets Law and into the Penal Law.
The CNY SPCA says that change is long overdue.
"Moving it to Penal Law would make it a lot easier for law enforcement. Agriculture market, police don't have that right there in front of them," says Paul Morgan, CNY SPCA executive director.
If animal cruelty crimes were moved to the Penal law, then misdemeanors would become felonies and violators would face harsher punishments.
But until the bills gets a sponsor in Senate, these laws wont be changing. That's why the Assemblyman is calling on the community to speak up.
"Hopefully with enough advocacy and people coming forward, and the more awareness we can bring to this issue, we can get this bill moving forward," says Assemblyman Brindisi.
This legislation will be reintroduced to lawmakers in January.
If you want to make your voice heard, lawmakers suggest writing or calling your state legislators.