NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign several animal-friendly bills into law protecting New York citizens and pets. The humane measures would strengthen the state's current animal fighting law, prohibit dangerous practices at New York grooming facilities by banning the use of "cage" dryers, and establish greater standards of care for animals in pet stores and commercial breeders who sell their puppies directly to the public.
"New York State has long been a leader in establishing tough laws to protect animals," said Bill Ketzer, senior director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. "We commend state legislators for working tirelessly with our organization to address various animal welfare issues such as animal fighting and the commercial pet trade, and we urge Governor Cuomo to voice his support for these critical reforms by signing them into law."
The animal-friendly bills awaiting Gov. Cuomo's signature include:
- Animal Fighting (A.9552-A/S.6774-A): Sponsored by Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) and Assemblymember John McEneny (D-Albany), this measure will strengthen current New York State laws against animal fighting by making it a misdemeanor offense to possess, sell or manufacture animal fighting paraphernalia. Animal fighting is a felony in all 50 states, and most activities related to animal fighting—including training animals to fight and allowing one's property to be used for an animal fight—are also felonies in New York. Last year, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation further criminalizing attendance at animal fights. Yet, owning, possessing or selling the necessary tools required to increase blood thirst and physical strength of the animals are not prosecutable offenses in New York, as is the case in at least 16 other states.
- Animal Grooming (A.7502-B/S.5702-A): Sponsored by Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), this bill will prohibit animal grooming and boarding facilities from using dangerous cage or box dryers with activated heating elements to dry an animal after bathing. Heated dryers can reach temperatures of up to 135 degrees, and if left unattended, an animal can quickly be burned or killed.
- Pet Stores (A.697-D/S.7268-A): Sponsored by Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson) and Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), this bill will require pet stores and commercial breeders selling directly to the public to provide an isolation area for sick animals, establish a written program of veterinary care and implement a daily exercise program for dogs appropriate to their breed. Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills, where they are often housed in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care. The ASPCA's NoPetStorePuppies.com campaign asks consumers to pledge not to shop at their local pet stores for any items—including food, supplies or toys—if the stores sell puppies.
"These bills represent a strong step forward and will have life-saving results for New York's animals," added Ketzer. "New York lawmakers have once again demonstrated their commitment to passing laws to prevent the suffering of animals."
For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.