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NY lawmakers vote to strengthen animal cruelty penalties

ALBANY, N.Y.  — The New York Senate has voted to strengthen the state’s laws against animal cruelty.

The measure endorsed Tuesday would increase the fines and potential jail time for people convicted of aggravated animal cruelty. The Senate also voted to prohibit those offenders from owning a dog or cat or other companion animal in the future. That bill would also require offenders to undergo a psychological evaluation.

Republican Sen. Jim Tedisco sponsored the bills. He says the tougher penalties are needed to protect animals from mistreatment and to prevent offenders from hurting another animal.

“It’s hard to read a newspaper, watch the news or go on social media and not learn of yet another disturbing case of animal cruelty and neglect,” Sen. Tedisco said. “While we’ve made great strides in protecting our four-legged friends since the passage of the landmark Buster’s Law in 1999, there are still many miles to go in New York State to protect our pets and keep people safe.”

Identical legislation is already pending in the state Assembly.