BUSTER'S LAW AMENDMENT
Released June 7, 2000 by New York State Governor's Office: GOVERNOR PATAKI SIGNS BILL TO STRENGTHEN BUSTER'S LAW
One year after signing "Buster's Law" to make intentional killing or serious injury of household pets a felony, Governor George E. Pataki today announced he has signed into law legislation allowing courts to require those convicted under that law to forfeit the abused animal. "The tragic story of Buster touched the lives of all New Yorkers who consider their pets as loving, loyal members of the family that deserve protection under the law," Governor Pataki said. "Prior to Buster's Law, there simply was no adequate penalty available for people who committed inhumane acts against our pets. "Abusing defenseless animals is a gateway crime that can lead to violence against human beings," the Governor said. "Buster's Law allows us to treat this disturbing behavior as the serious crime it is. This legislation will ensure defenseless animals are removed from their abusers." Senator Hugh Farley said, "I applaud the Governor for approving this new legislation concerning animal forfeiture. Last year, the enactment of Buster's Law resulted in stronger penalties for cruelty to animals. Today's action by the Governor continues and advances our State's commitment and efforts to protect animals from abuse." Assemblyman Jim Tedisco said, "I applaud the Governor for going the extra step to protect pets from further harm by removing them from abusive homes. The people involved in these horrendous acts have shown they shouldn't have the privilege of owning a companion animal."
Buster's Law was named after an 18-month-old tabby cat that was doused with kerosene and burned to death by a Schenectady teenager in 1997. Also known as the Felony Animal Cruelty Law, it created the category of "aggravated cruelty to animals," a felony offense punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Prior to the Governor's action last year, the law allowed only for a misdemeanor conviction and a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Aggravated cruelty is defined as unjustifiable conduct that is intended to cause extreme physical pain or is done in an especially depraved and sadistic manner. The law includes dogs, cats and other domesticated household animals that have owners and also provides protection for stray dogs and cats, which in prior law were not included in the definition of companion animals. The legislation signed by the Governor today will add Buster's Law to the list of animal cruelty misdemeanors and felonies that trigger animal forfeiture. The law takes effect immediately.
NEW YORK CRUELTY TO ANIMAL STATUTES
STATUTES AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAW CHAPTER 69 OF THE CONSOLIDATED LAWS ARTICLE 26--ANIMALS
s 353. Overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance. A person who overdrives, overloads, tortures or cruelly beats or unjustifiably injures, maims, mutilates or kills any animal, whether wild or tame, and whether belonging to himself or to another, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink, or neglects or refuses to furnish it such sustenance or drink, or causes, procures or permits any animal to be overdriven, overloaded, tortured, cruelly beaten, or unjustifiably injured, maimed, mutilated or killed, or to be deprived of necessary food or drink, or who wilfully sets on foot, instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal, or any act tending to produce such cruelty, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.
Nothing herein contained shall be construed to prohibit or interfere with any properly conducted scientific tests, experiments or investigations, involving the use of living animals, performed or conducted in laboratories or institutions, which are approved for these purposes by the state commissioner of health. The state commissioner of health shall prescribe the rules under which such approvals shall be granted, including therein standards regarding the care and treatment of any such animals. Such rules shall be published and copies thereof conspicuously posted in each such laboratory or institution. The state commissioner of health or his duly authorized representative shall have the power to inspect such laboratories or institutions to insure compliance with such rules and standards. Each such approval may be revoked at any time for failure to comply with such rules and in any case the approval shall be limited to a period not exceeding one year.
s 358. Selling disabled horsesIt shall be unlawful for any person holding an auctioneer's license knowingly to receive or offer for sale or to sell at public auction, other than at a sheriff's or judicial sale under a court order, any horse which by reason of debility, disease or lameness, or for any other cause, could not be worked in this state without violating the law against cruelty to animals. Any person violating any provision of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
s 359. Carrying animal in a cruel manner1. A person who carries or causes to be carried in or upon any vessel or vehicle or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhuman manner, or so as to produce torture, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.
2. A railway corporation, or an owner, agent, consignee, or person in charge of any horses, sheep, cattle, or swine, in the course of, or for transportation, who confines, or causes or suffers the same to be confined, in cars for a longer period than twenty-eight consecutive hours, or thirty-six consecutive hours where consent is given in the manner hereinafter provided, without unloading for rest, water and feeding, during five consecutive hours, unless prevented by storm or inevitable accident, is guilty of a misdemeanor. The consent which will extend the period from twenty-eight to thirty-six hours shall be given by the owner, or by person in custody of a particular shipment, by a writing separate and apart from any printed bill of lading or other railroad form. In estimating such confinement, the time during which the animals have been confined without rest, on connecting roads from which they are received, must be computed. If the owner, agent, consignee or other person in charge of any such animals refuses or neglects upon demand to pay for the care or feed of the animals while so unloaded or rested, the railway company, or other carriers thereof, may charge the expense thereof to the owner or consignee and shall have a lien thereon for such expense.
s 369. Interference with officersAny person who shall interfere with or obstruct any constable or police officer or any officer or agent of any duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals in the discharge of his duty to enforce the laws relating to animals shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.
s 371. Powers of peace officersA constable or police officer must, and any agent or officer of any duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may issue an appearance ticket pursuant to section 150.20 of the criminal procedure law, summon or arrest, and bring before a court or magistrate having jurisdiction, any person offending against any of the provisions of article twenty-six of the agriculture and markets law. Any officer or agent of any of said societies may lawfully interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any animal in his presence. Any of said societies may prefer a complaint before any court, tribunal or magistrate having jurisdiction, for the violation of any law relating to or affecting animals and may aid in presenting the law and facts before such court, tribunal or magistrate in any proceeding taken.
s 373. Seizure of animals lost, strayed, homeless, abandoned or improperly confined or kept1. Any agent or officer of the American Society for the Prevention of cruelty to animals or any duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, may lawfully take possession of any lost, strayed, homeless or abandoned animal found in any street, road or other public place.
1-a. Any police officer in Lewis county may lawfully take possession of any lost, strayed, homeless or abandoned domestic animal, as defined in section one hundred eight of this chapter, found in any street, road or other public place.
2. Any such agent or officer may also lawfully take possession of any animal in or upon any premises other than a street, road or other public place, which for more than twelve successive hours has been confined or kept in a crowded or unhealthy condition or in unhealthful or unsanitary surroundings or not properly cared for or without necessary sustenance, food or drink, provided that a complaint stating just and reasonable grounds is made under oath or affirmation to any magistrate authorized to issue warrants in criminal cases, and that such warrant authorizing entry and search is issued and delivered by such magistrate; if just and reasonable cause is shown, the magistrate shall immediately issue such warrant.
3. Any such agent or officer may also lawfully take possession of any unwanted animal from the person in possession or custody thereof.
4. When any person arrested is, at the time of such arrest, in charge of any animal or of any vehicle drawn by or containing any animal, any agent or officer of said society or societies or any police officer may take charge of such animal and of such vehicle and its contents, and deposit the same in a safe place or custody, or deliver the same into the possession of the police or sheriff of the county or place wherein such arrest was made, who shall thereupon assume the custody thereof; and all necessary expenses incurred in taking charge of such property shall be a charge thereon.
5. Nothing herein contained shall restrict the rights and powers derived from section one hundred eighteen of this chapter relating to seizure of unlicensed dogs and the disposition to be made of animals so seized or taken, nor those derived from any other general or special law relating to the seizure or other taking of dogs and other animals by a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
s 374. Humane destruction or other disposition of animals lost, strayed, homeless, abandoned or improperly confined or kept1. Any agent or officer of the American Society for the Prevention of cruelty to animals, or of any society duly incorporated for that purpose, or any police officer, may lawfully and humanely destroy or cause to be humanely destroyed any animal found abandoned and not properly cared for, or any lost, strayed, homeless or unwanted animal, if upon examination a licensed veterinary surgeon shall certify in writing, or if two reputable citizens called by him to view the same in his presence find that the animal is so maimed, diseased, disabled, or infirm so as to be unfit for any useful purpose; or after such agent or officer has obtained in writing from the owner of such animal his consent to such destruction.
2. In the absence of such findings or certificate the American Society for the Prevention of cruelty to animals or any society duly incorporated for that purpose may after five days humanely destroy any animal of which possession is taken as provided for in the preceding section, unless the same is earlier redeemed by its owner.
2-a. The use of a decompression chamber or decompression device of any kind is hereby declared to be inhumane when used for the purpose of destroying an animal and is hereby prohibited.
2-b. No person shall euthanize any dog or cat with T-61, curare, any curariform drug, any neuro-muscular blocking agent or any other paralyzing drug.
2-c. No person shall euthanize a dog or cat by gunshot except as an emergency procedure for a dangerous dog or a severely injured dog or cat that is suffering and cannot otherwise be aided.
2-d. No person shall euthanize a dog or cat by gas emitted from any engine exhaust system.
2-e. No person shall release any dog or cat from the custody or control of any pound, shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society, dog protective association, dog control officer, peace officer or any agent thereof, for any purpose except adoption or redemption by its owner. Any violation of this subdivision, or subdivision two-a, two-b, two-c or two-d of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.
3. In lieu of such destruction or redemption, such society may in its discretion lawfully and without liability deliver such animal for adoption to an individual other than the owner after the time for redemption has expired.
4. Prior to such destruction or other disposition, the owner of the animal may redeem the same upon proving title to the satisfaction of such society and paying such society such amount, approved by a magistrate, as may have been reasonably expended by such society in connection with the care and maintenance thereof.
5. a. In addition to any other penalty provided by law, upon conviction for any violation of section three hundred fifty-one, three hundred fifty-three, three hundred fifty-five, three hundred fifty-six, three hundred fifty-nine, three hundred sixty, three hundred sixty-one, three hundred sixty-five or three hundred sixty-eight of this article, the convicted person may, after a duly held hearing pursuant to paragraph f of this subdivision, be ordered by the court to forfeit, to a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or a duly incorporated humane society or authorized agents thereof, the animal or animals which are the basis of the conviction. Upon such an order of forfeiture, the convicted person shall be deemed to have relinquished all rights to the animals which are the basis of the conviction, except those granted in paragraph d of this subdivision.
b. Pursuant to the provisions of subdivisions two-a, two-b, two-c and two-d of this section, no dog or cat in the custody of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, a duly incorporated humane society or its authorized agents thereof, or a pound or shelter, shall be sold, transferred or otherwise made available to any person for the purpose of research, experimentation or testing. No authorized agent of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, nor of a duly incorporated humane society, shall use any animal placed in its custody by the duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or duly incorporated humane society for the purpose of research, experimentation or testing.
c. The court may additionally order that the convicted person or any person dwelling in the same household who conspired, aided or abetted in the unlawful act which was the basis of the conviction, or who knew or should have known of the unlawful act, shall not own, harbor, or have custody or control of any other animals, other than farm animals, for a period of time which the court deems reasonable.
d. In the case of farm animals, the court may, in addition to the forfeiture to a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or a duly incorporated humane society or authorized agents thereof, and subject to the restrictions of sections three hundred fifty-four and three hundred fifty- seven of this article, order the farm animals which were the basis of the conviction to be sold. In no case shall farm animals which are the basis of the conviction be redeemed by the convicted person who is the subject of the order of forfeiture or by any person dwelling in the same household who conspired, aided or abetted in the unlawful act which was the basis of the conviction, or who knew or should have known of the unlawful act. The court shall reimburse the convicted person and any duly determined interested persons, pursuant to paragraph f of this subdivision, any money earned by the sale of the farm animals less any costs including, but not limited to, veterinary and custodial care, and any fines or penalties imposed by the court. The court may order that the subject animals be provided with appropriate care and treatment pending the hearing and the disposition of the charges. Any farm animal ordered forfeited but not sold shall be remanded to the custody and charge of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or duly incorporated humane society or its authorized agent thereof and disposed of pursuant to paragraph e of this subdivision.
e. A duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or a duly incorporated humane society in charge of animals forfeited pursuant to paragraph a of this subdivision may, in its discretion, lawfully and without liability, adopt them to individuals other than the convicted person or person dwelling in the same household who conspired, aided or abetted in the unlawful act which was the basis of the conviction, or who knew or should have known of the unlawful act, or humanely dispose of them according to the provisions of subdivisions two-a, two-b, two-c, and two-d of this section.
f. (1) Prior to an order of forfeiture of farm animals, a hearing shall be held within thirty days of conviction, to determine the pecuniary interests of any other person in the farm animals which were the basis of the conviction. Written notice shall be served at least five days prior to the hearing upon all interested persons. In addition, notice shall be made by publication in a local newspaper at least seven days prior to the hearing. For the purposes of this subdivision, interested persons shall mean any individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, or other legal entity who the court determines may have a pecuniary interest in the farm animals which are the subject of the forfeiture action.
(2) All interested persons shall be provided an opportunity at the hearing to redeem their interest as determined by the court in the subject farm animals and to purchase the interest of the convicted person. The convicted person shall be entitled to be reimbursed his interest in the farm animals, less any costs, fines or penalties imposed by the court, as specified under paragraph d of this subdivision. In no case shall the court award custody or control of the animals to any interested person who conspired, aided or abetted in the unlawful act which was the basis of the conviction, or who knew or should have known of the unlawful act.
g. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or restrict in any way the rights of a secured party having a security interest in any farm animal described in this section. This section expressly does not impair or subordinate the rights of such a secured lender having a security interest in farm animals or in the proceeds from the sale of such farm animals.
s 654. Deputizing local police officers or peace officers The sheriff may in his discretion deputize the police officers or peace officers of cities, towns, villages and special districts and agents of societies incorporated for the purpose of prevention of cruelty to animals, for the purpose of authorizing an arrest without a warrant outside the territorial limits of such city, town, village or special district, when such crime or infraction was committed within such territorial limits in the presence of such officer. Such officer shall not be deemed an officer, agent, servant or employee of the county.
s 809. Instruction in the humane treatment of animals1. The officer, board or commission authorized or required to prescribe courses of instruction shall cause instruction to be given in every elementary school under state control or supported wholly or partly by public money of the state, in the humane treatment and protection of animals and the importance of the part they play in the economy of nature as well as the necessity of controlling the proliferation of animals which are subsequently abandoned and caused to suffer extreme cruelty. Such instruction shall be for such period of time during each school year as the board of regents may prescribe and may be joined with work in literature, reading, language, nature study or ethnology. Such weekly instruction may be divided into two or more periods. A school district shall not be entitled to participate in the public school money on account of any school or the attendance at any school subject to the provisions of this section, if the instruction required hereby is not given therein.
2. Study and care of live animals. Any school which cares for or uses animals for study shall ensure that each animal in such school be afforded the following: appropriate quarters; sufficient space for the normal behavior and postural requirements of the species; proper ventilation, lighting, and temperature control; adequate food and clean drinking water; and quarters which shall be cleaned on a regular basis and located in an area where undue stress and disturbance are minimized.
3. Application. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit or constrain vocational instruction in the normal practice of animal husbandry, or prohibit or constrain instruction in environmental education activities as established by the department of environmental conservation.
4. Dissection of animals. Any student expressing a moral or religious objection to the performance or witnessing of the dissection of an animal, either wholly or in part, shall be provided the opportunity to undertake and complete an alternative project that shall be approved by such student's teacher; provided, however, that such objection is substantiated in writing by the student's parent or legal guardian. Students who perform alternative projects who do not perform or witness the dissection of animals shall not be penalized.
5. Treatment of live vertebrate animals. a. Except as provided for in this subdivision, no school district, school principal, administrator, or teacher shall require or permit the performance of a lesson or experimental study on a live vertebrate animal in any such school or during any activity conducted under the auspices of such school whether or not the activity takes place on the premises of such school where such lesson or experimental study employs: (i) micro-organisms which cause disease in humans or animals, (ii) ionizing radiation, (iii) known cancer producing agents, (iv) chemicals at toxic levels, (v) drugs producing pain or deformity, (vi) severe extremes of temperature, (vii) electric or other shock, (viii) excessive noise, (ix) noxious fumes, (x) exercise to exhaustion, (xi) overcrowding, (xii) paralysis by muscle relaxants or other means, (xiii) deprivation or excess of food, water or other essential nutrients, (xiv) surgery or other invasive procedures, (xv) other extreme stimuli, or (xvi) termination of life.
b. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this section, the commissioner may, upon the submission of a written program plan, issue to such school a written waiver of such restrictions for students subject to the following provisions: (i) the student shall be in grade ten, eleven, or twelve; and (ii) the student shall be under the supervision of one or more teachers certified in science; and (iii) the student shall be pursuing an accelerated course of study in the sciences as defined by the commissioner in preparation for taking a state or national advanced placement examination. The commissioner shall issue a waiver of such restrictions for any teacher certified in science instructing such student. The written program plan shall include, but not be limited to: (i) the educational basis for requesting a waiver; (ii) the objective of the lesson or experiment; (iii) the methods and techniques to be used; and (iv) any other information required by the commissioner.
6. Report. On or before the first day of January next succeeding the effective date of this amended section, the commissioner shall annually submit a report to the governor and the legislature which shall include, but not be limited to, the number of written program plan proposals submitted by schools and the number of such proposals subsequently approved by the commissioner. In those cases where a program plan proposal has been approved by the commissioner, such plan shall be appended to and become a part of the commissioner's annual report."
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