Animal Rights and Standards

Banning On-line Shooting or Internet Hunting

Remote control hunting is disgusting on many levels. This law was in response to, a Texas based website, which allows users to hunt and target shoot with live ammunition over the Internet. Not only does this have potential safety problems, but hunting via the Internet turns it into the equivalent of an online video game. I know of no other instance of a bill of this nature receiving the support of both the Humane Society and the NRA. I was glad I could pass a law banning this practice.

Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards

As we saw during Hurricane Katrina, pets are often at great risk during national emergencies. This law established a set of standards that will be used to establish evacuation plans for pets and service animals in the cases of state disasters. Unfortunately, we have had our own extreme weather conditions i.e. Hurricane Irene and Sandy and there is every indication that we will be challenged by large storms in the future. Planning for the evacuation and care of these important members of human families will minimize the disruption and pain of these events.

Animal Abuser Statewide Registry

This bill would establish a registry of people who have been convicted of a felony violation of animal abuse or of the comparable statutes in another state. This is much needed legislation to combat animal cruelty and abuse and to stop repeat offenders. The registered abuser would be prohibited from purchasing animals from stores and adopting from animal shelters. For more than a quarter of a century, studies have shown a strong correlation between animal abuse and human violence. A survey of pet-owning families where child abuse and neglect occurred, found that animals were also abused in 88% of homes where child physical abuse was present (DeViney, Cidket & Lockwood, 1983). A 1998 study of women seeking shelter at a safe house showed that 71% of those having pets affirmed that their partner had threatened, hurt or killed their companion animals (Ascione, 1998).

Prohibition on the Insurance Change Based Solely on Breed of Dog

The objective of this legislation is to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners and renters based on the breed of dog that they own. If a dog has a history of causing injury then there may be a legitimate basis for higher homeowner insurance premiums. However, the current insurance law suggests that the mere ownership of a particular breed of dog is a legitimate basis for higher homeowner insurance premiums. This misguided practice has placed pet owners in an undeserved bind. While pet owners deserve adequate and affordable homeowner insurance, they are unable to obtain it without removing their friendly animal from the family unit. For years, insurance companies that offer homeowners insurance have avoided loss because of the burglary prevention provided by homeowners’ dogs. It is unacceptable that now insurance companies would want the ability to deny coverage based on the exact same breed of dog that may have protected the homeowners and the insurance company from loss. This bill would ensure the end of discrimination for homeowners based on the breed of dog that they own. As an equal and fair society, it is key that we amend the insurance law to protect the interests of both homeowners and their kind-hearted companion animals.

Cruelty of Carriage Horses

Horse carriages are often used as an iconic symbol of New York. We associate them with romantic movies and of times when our world was not as fast-paced. Unfortunately, the reality is far less romantic. Mixing horses, cars, pedestrians, buses and cyclists in one crowded space is inevitably going to cause harm to humans and animals. The State has not ignored this issue. Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Rosenthal (A7748) and Senator Avella (S5013), would prohibit horse carriages in New York City. I am a proud sponsor of this legislation. In addition to prohibiting the horse carriages, the legislation also ensures that carriage horses are humanely retired, and makes sure that these horses aren’t simply sold to slaughterhouses, as is currently the usual practice. This second part of the bill goes hand in hand with other legislation, A3504, of which I am the lead sponsor, which would make it illegal to sell or transport horses for slaughter for human consumption. It may be news to many people, but there is a significant market for horse meat in Europe and Japan. The bill would also implement penalties for those caught breaking the law.