Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Since several high-profile animal abuse cases, there’s been a new push in Albany for stricter laws and punishments for people who hurt their animals.
A local group – the Cuse Pit Crew
– is helping to spearhead the statewide effort. It all started with a petition
by the group, calling for harsher punishment for animal abusers. They’ve collected more than 1,800 signatures.
NY Senator David Valesky has even signed on and is now introducing a bill in Albany.
The group says animal neglect and cruelty needs to stop. Recent cases like “Grace” the pitbull
-- who had to be put down last week after police say she was horribly neglected have resurrected their push for harsher penalties against those who abuse and neglect animals.
“Animals, just because they’re an animal, doesn’t mean that they don’t have pain and they don’t experience pain like humans do. It’s just the same for them as it is for us, so it is very important that we take it seriously,” said Cuse Pit Crew President Stefanie Heath-Higgins.
Valesky says the bill proposes big changes to animal cruelty laws. The bill would move animal cruelty charges from under the Agriculture and Markets law, to Penal law. Valesky says that gives district attorneys more power to prosecute. In many cases, it would bring offenses from a misdemeanor to a felony.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing far too many examples of mistreatment, abuse, neglect and we need to strengthen our laws to send a message that as a society, we aren't going to tolerate that anymore,” said Valesky.
It’s an issue that should cross party lines and gain support with animal lovers on both sides of the aisle and hopefully better protect dogs like Grace. If approved, the legislation could become law in the next few months.