The Federation is focused on supporting legislation that will help animals and support animal welfare organizations in New York State.  There are many pieces of legislation introduced in the State Legislature every year and while the Federation might not take a position on every bill, we do focus on those we feel will have the most impact. The Fed has been very successful in its efforts. Since 2017, we’ve secured the $5 million Companion Animal Capital Fund for capital projects at shelters across New York in each state budget. We passed bills banning the leasing of pet in NYS, enabling local municipalities to shorten the length of stay for unidentified cats that come into shelters, and broadening the residency requirements for peace officers serving the Hudson Valley Humane Society and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.

2021 Humane Agenda: Our top legislative initiatives

Companion Animal Capital Fund

We’re please to announce that the Companion Animal Capital Fund is back in the New York State Budget!

The Federation thanks the Fund’s champions–Assemblymember Deborah Glick and State Senator Joseph Addabbo as well as the Chairs of the Agriculture Committees in their respective houses, Assemblymember Donna Lupardo and State Senator Michelle Hinchey. Click here to read the Fed’s press release on this victory.

Check out the video and information below that details the Fed’s advocacy for the Fund.

  • Include the Companion Animal Capital Fund in the budget bills of each house of the legislature
    • Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, who has championed the fund from its inception, is circulating a budget letter to the members of her Democratic conference for her colleagues to show their support for the Fund.
    • The Fed is working with its members and advocates to reach out directly to their State Senators to include the fund on their individual budget priorities which will be presented to the Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
  • Include the language changes proposed and agreed to last year but not included in final capital bill
  • Click here to read our memo.
  • Click here to read our testimony before the January 27, 20201 Joint Legislative Hearing on Environmental Conservation that also includes agriculture issues.
  • Click here to read our testimony presented in writing to the Division of the Budget’s Agriculture Capital Budget Hearing in November 2020.

E-Scribing Mandate for Veterinarians
The proposal to compel veterinarians to e-prescribe, per the Governor’s budget proposal, would have significant negative impacts on the state’s network of animal shelters. Click here to read our memo. The Fed, working with the Veterinary Medical Society of New York State, were successful in removing this mandate from the budget.

Vaccines for Shelter Workers
The Fed has been working to get Shelter Workers on the 1b list for COVID vaccination. Click here for more information. Once vaccinations were made available to public facing nonprofit employees, Shelter Workers became available for the vaccine.

Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline: (Gianaris S.1130/Rosenthal A.4283) This bill would stop the puppy mill pipeline into New York State. Instead of selling animals (puppies, kittens and rabbits) that come from breeding factories, pet stores would have the opportunity to rebrand as humane businesses and host shelter and rescue adoption events. In 2018, pet owners across the globe spent over $72.5 billion on their animals. It is estimated that only 2% of those sales are for puppies, kittens and rabbits from mills. It is time for New York to say no to these mills which are actual factories. In the case of puppies, female dogs are placed in cages day in and day out purely to breed. They are impregnated. They deliver. Within weeks, they’re impregnated again. When they are no longer “of use” to the puppy mill, they are usually euthanized. The bill passed in the Senate in 2020 and has been reintroduced in both houses in the 2021 session. Click here for our Advocacy Day Packet.

Ban Insurance Discrimination in Pet Ownership (Gianaris S.4254/Glick A.4075): Presently, insurance companies routinely deny homeowners and renters insurances to people who own pit bulls. This insurance discrimination has to stop—it just reinforces the negative stereotypes about pit bulls and keeps more of them in shelters rather than in loving homes. Click here for our memo.

Veterinary Reporting of Suspected Cruelty: (Gianaris S.5023/Rosenthal A. 5823) One way to continue to fight animal cruelty is to require veterinarians to report suspected cruelty to police or authorized SPCA humane officers. Click here for our memo.

Comprehensive Shelter Standards: (Paulin) The proposed bill uses the Association of Shelter Veterinarians guidelines to improve shelter management and care. It will include, but is not limited to, setting standards for training, record keeping and reporting, physical plant, housing, sanitation, veterinary care, behavior care, euthanasia, transportation and inspection.

We are also working on these other issues:

Eliminate mandatory appearance tickets for felony animal cruelty and felony animal fighting crimes

  • In order to seriously address felony animal cruelty (AGM Section 353-a) and felony animal fighting crimes (AGM Section 351), the Pre-Trial Justice Reform Act passed last year needs to be amended to exempt these crimes.
  • Acts of animal cruelty can not only result in an animal’s death or serious injury, but can also be intended to cause extreme physical pain or carried out in an especially depraved or sadistic manner. Given that such crimes can expose other forms of family violence and be one of the most visible parts of an entire history of aggressive or antisocial behavior, it is also important to retain the option of immediately charging and arraigning a suspect in these cases as well.
  • In addition, animal fighting is very often associated with other forms of criminal activity, including illegal gambling, and drug and weapons trafficking.  Probable cause is often established by way of the animal fighting statute. Therefore, an investigation into these offenses and the ability to immediately charge and arraign suspects can play a crucial role in revealing the true depth of the criminal enterprise.

Advance Pro-Active Legislation to Enhance the Lives of Companion Animals

  • Comprehensive Shelter Standards: The proposed bill uses the Association of Shelter Veterinarians guidelines to improve shelter management and care. It will include, but is not limited to, setting standards for training, record keeping and reporting, physical plant, housing, sanitation, veterinary care, behavior care, euthanasia, transportation and inspection.
  • Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, AGM 353-a: Amend definition of Serious Physical Injury: As it currently stands, when proving aggravated animal cruelty pursuant to AML 353-a, one element that must be proven is that the animal suffered serious physical injury (SPI) or death.
    • The definition of SPI is the same definition that applies to human assault cases, Penal Law § 10.00(10). This section defines SPI as “physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.”
    • Proving SPI in human injury cases is often established through the testimony of the victim as to his or her ongoing symptoms, pain and/or other impairment as compared to a prior status.
    • Since such testimony is not possible for animals, requiring the same level of proof often results in the inability to prove SPI absent extreme injury (i.e. loss of a body part). The ASPCA can offer many case examples to illustrate some serious injuries where SPI would not be provable according to the PL definition.
  • Prohibit/restrict dogs in pickup trucks: Many states, including ME, NH, MA, CT and RI, prohibit placing animals in the beds of pickup trucks. Some states cover all animals, while others just cover dogs.  New York has no such law, and while AGM Section 359 does prohibit “carrying an animal in a cruel manner” (as do to a handful of other states), to our knowledge the NY statute is not expressly applicable to dogs or other animals riding unsecured in the back of pickups.
  • Lowering the sales threshold for home-based breeders from 25 to 15: While the Pre-Emption Bill passed at the end of the 2013 session was a good start, it is clear that without pro-active measure on the state’s part local governments are not going to move as quickly as hoped. Lowering the sales threshold to 15 will enable local governments to more effectively protect dogs by bringing disreputable breeders to justice.