Good news for animal lovers everywhere, but especially in New York State.
On May 1, Eric Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General, announced an Animal Protection Initiative aimed at shutting down criminal animal fighting rings, ensuring compliance with New York State’s Pet Lemon Law, charging and prosecuting those who abuse or neglect animals, and cracking down on the abuses of “puppy mills” in order to protect the welfare of the animals being sold and consumers.
Drawing on resources from the Office of the Attorney General’s regional offices as well as many of the Office’s bureaus, this new initiative will use civil and criminal remedies to target allegations of animal cruelty and unscrupulous sales of pets and other animals.
You can read more about this initiative on the Attorney General’s website at http://www.ag.ny.gov/, but here we have summarized some of the highlights of the press release.
“Fighting animal cruelty is both a consumer protection issue and a public safety issue,” according to the Attorney General Schneiderman. “There is a direct correlation between the dog fighting rings and other criminal enterprises, including gangs, gambling and illegal drugs, that put our communities at risk. At the same time, New Yorkers spend millions of dollars each year on the companionship a pet can provide. I am committed to enforcing our state’s consumer protection laws and protecting the right of every New Yorker to live in a safe community.”
The OAG will monitor whether pet stores are being honest and following the law and bring civil or criminal prosecutions where appropriate.
The OAG’s Initiative will also target those who abuse or neglect animals.
We know that animal abuse can be a “gateway crime” that destabilizes communities. Many communities report growing involvement of juvenile and other offenders in dog fighting or animal abuse, often as a part of gang involvement.
The Attorney General’s Animal Protection Initiative will promote public safety by cracking down on individuals or groups that abuse or neglect companion animals; pursue criminal animal fighting enterprises; and protect consumers who do not wish to purchase sick or diseased animals from in-state or out-of-state “puppy mills” by ensuring compliance with New York’s consumer protection laws.
The Initiative is comprised of Investigators and Assistant Attorneys General across the entire state, from the OAG’s Regional Offices, the Consumer Fraud Bureau, the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the Organized Crime Task Force and the Investigations Bureau, who will work to bring the perpetrators of these and other animal crimes to justice.
New Yorkers seeking to report consumer complaints, animal abuse or give anonymous tips about potential animal fighting rings are asked to call 1-800-771-7755 and press 1.
It’s about time, we say. Here in Oswego County we depend heavily on the professionalism and compassion of local law enforcement officers, and there is no substitute for their hard work on difficult criminal cases–but to have a statewide agency with both civil and criminal enforcement powers focusing on these issues is a tremendous step forward. Who says that big government is a bad thing?
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone (315) 207-1070.
Because people and pets are good for each other!