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September 25, 2018

A New Level Of Protection For Pets

By Senator Patty Ritchie
If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know how painful of an experience it can be.

But can you imagine having your pet stolen?

Sadly, pet theft is a reality for an increasing number of people. According to the American Kennel Club, there were more than 590 pets stolen in 2013. This represents a 31 percent increase over the number of thefts in the prior year.

Pets are stolen for a variety of reasons, including many being sold and shipped to puppy mills to be used for breeding or if the dog is of a designer breed, such as Labradoodles or purebreds, they’re often resold.

Pets are part of the family, and that’s why I’m happy to report legislation I supported to strengthen penalties for theft and mistreatment of pets was recently signed into law.

This new measure will increase the maximum fine, for the first time since 1970, from $200 to $1,000 for those who harm, steal or transport a pet that’s not their own.

While this legislation represents a new level of protection for animals, it’s so important to continue to take steps to keep our pets safe.

Here are a few ways you can ensure your pet stays out of harm’s way:

Keep your pet on its leash;

Don’t leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. Not only can it pose a health risk in the hot weather, it puts your animal in plain sight for thieves;

Make sure your pet is properly identified by a tag or other means;

Avoid leaving your animal unattended in your yard if you’re not home, keep them indoors; and

If you’re out running errands, never leave your pet tied up outside a store where thieves could easily untie it.

As a dog owner myself, I know how important it is to protect our pets. That’s why I’ve supported a number of measures and initiatives to ensure our animals are kept safe and healthy, including:

A measure that allows municipalities to regulate pet dealers, giving local governments the authority to enact stronger laws to protect the well-being of animals and crack down on puppy mills;

Legislation that makes it a crime to possess dog fighting equipment or other devices used to train fighting dogs. The measure protects innocent animals from a growing number of animal fight cases, by giving police and prosecutors new tools to stop dog fighters; and

From now through the fall, I will be hosting a series of free rabies vaccination clinics.

These build upon last year’s events, where nearly 1,000 pets were protected.

For a list of clinics, please visit my website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov

Pets are part of the family and in the future, I look forward to building upon these efforts by continuing to work to keep our pets healthy and protect them from harm.

One Response “A New Level Of Protection For Pets”

  1. Charles Vitello
    July 28, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Although the measures taken are in the right direction, we still need stiffer penalties for the abuse of all our animal family members., I would like to see some jail time tied to animal abuse convictions, I believe that we need to also stop viewing our pets as property in the law, and raise their place from that of an object.

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