Westchester 4 GeesePress Releases
From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Activists meeting with NYS Senator to strenghten animal cruelty laws


Date August 15, 2018

Kiley Blackman
[email protected]

August 15, 2018
Contact:  Kiley Blackman
Dr. Kay Pistone-Carucci 

Much needed change with slap on the wrist sentences ineffective as deterrents to willful abuse...

Activists meeting with NYS Senator to strenghten animal cruelty laws

Westchester County, NY  August 15, 2018  Members of animal advocacy groups Building Hope and Animal Defenders of Westchester will meet with NYS Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins in her office at 28 Wells Avenue, Bldg #3 in Yonkers, on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at 11:45 a.m.  The purpose of the meeting is to discuss creating legislation and other avenues that would upgrade and strengthen current animal cruelty laws, and also move them out of Agriculture/Markets into the Penal Code, where they rightly belong.  

A Rochester, NY man intentionally shot and killed his neighbor's dog...and was sentenced to one year incarceration; a hunter in Ulster County intentionally shot a dog with an arrow and killed him...and got a six month sentence; a Brooklyn man who lured a kitten, then proudly kicked the animal 'like a football' while his friends cheered, received one day of community service by the court....and most recently a Yonkers woman who choked a dog and broke his teeth was only charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty, with an SPCA HLE officer bemoaning the fact that the criminal history of the perpetrator can impact already weak charges.  Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal has introduced a bill (A3844) to address this legal deficiency, which states in part, 

In June 2014 on Staten Island, Rocky, an English bulldog, was the victim
of a terrible act of cruelty when a neighbor threw ammonia in his face
in an attempt to quiet his barking. By the time they brought Rocky to
the vet, he had ulcers in both his eyes and the vet wasn't sure if he
would ever see again. Thankfully, Rocky was able to make a full recov-
ery, yet this recovery also gave the perpetrator a way out. Due to the
language of the felony animal cruelty statute, a charge could not be
sustained. The dog's recovery conflicted with the prosecutor's interpre-
tation of "serious physical injury". This meant that because the dog
survived and recovered 100%, the perpetrator would be facing a lesser

The Times Union reports that only 17% of those charged with felony
aggravated cruelty to animals end up in felony convictions in New York
State. In this case, the perpetrator was given conditional discharge
after being convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, and forced
to pay $1,000 to the ASPCA for the dog's medical treatment. Also, the
perpetrator may not go near Rocky, and may never be allowed to own a dog
again. It is evident the punishment does not fit the crime. Eliminating
the word "serious" from the statute would fix this, so if a person's
actions were intended to cause extreme physical pain or conducted in an
especially depraved or sadistic manner

According to the Deterrence Theory on committing crimes, people are most likely to be dissuaded from committing a crime if the punishment is swift, certain and severe; this is usually coupled with rehabilitation.  https://study.com/academy/lesson/deterrence-theory-of-punishment-definition-effect-on-law-obedience.html  Tougher sentencing reduces crime, according to several studies:  One, conducted by Civitas, concluded that an increase of just one month in the average sentence length for burglaries - from 15.4 to 16.4 months - would reduce burglaries in the following year by 4,800, out of an annual total of 962,700.  https://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/jul/07/longer-prison-sentences-cut-crime

Building Hope for the New Yonkers Animal Shelter President Dr Kay Pistone-Carrucci initiated today's meeting, saying, "We are delighted that Senator Stewart Cousins is taking time out of her busy schedule to work with us in this important area."  Kiley Blackman is the founder of Animal Defenders of Westchester and honorary board member of Building Hope.  She states, "It is apparent that many people still consider cruelty to animals to be a joke, doing their misdeeds openly in the public, videotaping them...which is likely a throwback to the antiquated thinking of old, where animals were considered no different than blocks of wood, instead of sentient, intelligent, individual beings;  and some people need to bully others in order to feel superior themselves.  Unfortunately the result of lax enforcement on behalf of the animals is more contemptuous treatment:  The Brooklyn man who laughingly kicked a cat and received no time at all, sneered to animal rights protesters outside the courthouse that he was "headed home to buy me some good shoes."  

"It is wonderful that Senator Stewart Cousins is using the power of her office to help the voiceless.  Those who harm animals are statistically more likely to harm other people as well.  It is time we usher in a new era of kindness toward all other beings who share this earth - not only toward animals, children and the elderly, the most vulnerable victims - but toward each other as well." 

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