NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends New York legislators for passing A.2596-A/S.1079-A, to increase criminal penalties for the intentional killing of police dogs and horses. Sponsored by Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D-Rockland) and Sen. George Maziarz (R-Newfane), A.2596-A/S.1079-A passed both houses on Monday and now heads to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.
"Police dogs are on the front lines detecting dangers, apprehending criminals, and rescuing victims every day," said Bill Ketzer, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. "The loss of a police animal is a loss to the entire community, and we applaud New York legislators for passing this bill."
A.2596-A/S.1079-A increases penalties by making it a Class E Felony to intentionally kill a police dog or horse while such animal is in the performance of its duties and under the supervision of a police officer. Previously, killing such police animals was a Class A misdemeanor.
"A.2596-A/S.1079-A will honor the sacrifices of these highly-trained animals and acknowledge the priceless value that police animals have to law enforcement and the citizens of New York," added Ketzer. "We urge Governor Cuomo to sign this important legislation to protect these heroic animals and recognize their role in assisting police officers."
"I am excited to see that canine members of law enforcement agencies are getting the recognition and protection that they deserve," said Brad Shear, executive director of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, and president of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. "The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society maintains the K9 Memorial site in cooperation with the Capital District Police K9 Training Group, and we have long recognized the importance of working police animals in our communities."
At New York Voices for Animals Day, held in Albany on May 6, A.2596-A/S.1079-A was a priority bill that citizen advocates lobbied their legislators to support. The need for this bill was brought to the forefront after an incident in March 2013, when "Ape," an FBI police dog was shot and killed in Herkimer County while in pursuit of an at-large gunman. He was mortally wounded by the gunman during the shootout and died after efforts to save him by a veterinarian on the scene were unsuccessful. Ape had been on duty for less than a month.
For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.