2022 Legislation Subcommittee Report for Laws and Paws

For New York State Bar Association Committee on Animal Law (COAL) memoranda taking a position on a bill please go to https://nysba.org/2021-and-2022-legislative-memoranda/ [nysba.org. To find the text of a particular bill, please go to the public access portion of the Legislative Retrieval Service (LRS), at http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/navigate.cgi [public.leginfo.state.ny.us.

Bills Signed into Law

S.1130 (Gianaris) / A.4283 (L. Rosenthal)

This bill amends the Agricultural and Markets Law and General Business Law to prohibit the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits in retail pet stores.  It authorizes collaboration with entities such as municipal pounds, shelters, humane societies, and animal protective organizations to provide space to showcase cats or dogs for the purpose of adoption.  Its purpose is to eliminate the supply chain for puppy mills.  It was signed into law on December 15, 2022 with the commitment of Chapter Amendments.  Specifically, the sponsors agreed to allow retail pet shops to collect fees for showing pets available for adoption and to allow two years for its implementation.   The COAL did not take a position.

S.1289-B (Brooks)/ A.4978-B (Englebright)

This bill adds a new Section 6715 to the Education Law, requiring veterinarians to notify animal owners in writing of all side effects of prescribed medications dispensed to an animal.  The bill does not distinguish between pets, livestock, or wildlife.  It will take effect on June 14, 2023, one hundred and eighty days from the day it became law.  The COAL did not take a position on this bill.

S.4839-B (Biaggi) / A.5653-B (L. Rosenthal)

This bill amends the General Business Law by adding Section 399-aaaa to prohibit the manufacture, knowing import, sale or offer for sale of any cosmetic product or any component of it developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing.  The bill defines “cosmetic” as including any item applied to the human body for cleansing or beautifying.  The bill defines “cosmetic animal testing” as “the internal or external application of a cosmetic, either in its final form or any ingredient thereof, to the skin, eyes, or other body part of a live non-human vertebrate.” The bill gives the Attorney General enforcement powers and provides for civil penalties ranging from $500 to $5,000 for a first violation, and $1,000 for each additional day of continued violation.  It is effective January 1, 2023.  The COAL supported.

S.6870-B (Addabbo) / A.6246-C (Paulin)

This bill provides a comprehensive standard of care for municipal animal shelters, not for profit humane societies, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and animal shelters.  It amends the Agricultural and Markets Law by adding a new Article 26-C titled “Regulation of Animal Shelters.”  It will take effect December 15, 2025, three years from the date it became law.  The goal is to provide adequate, uniformed and comprehensive standards of care to ensure animal health and wellbeing in shelter/rescue care.  The COAL supported.

S.7783 (Addabbo) / A.8777 (Pretlow)

This bill is a chapter amendment to S.1442-B/A.4154-B, signed into law as Chapter 645 of the Laws of 2021, and it makes the changes that the governor negotiated with the sponsors as a condition of signing the bill in 2021.  The bill amends Agriculture and Markets Law Section 382, which prohibits the slaughter of racehorses and racehorse breeding stock, by providing that race horse owners who can demonstrate proper documentation of a transfer of ownership of the horse to a party with no financial or familial relationship to the them will be protected from liability.  The prior version of Section 382 imposed a presumption of liability on the owner, who could however rebut that presumption by showing proper documentation of a transfer of ownership of the horse sent to slaughter.  This bill became effective on February 24, 2022.  The COAL did not take a position on the bill.

S.8315-A (Gianaris)/ A.9284-A (Glick)

This bill amends Insurance Law Section 3421 to make it unlawful to exclude, limit, restrict or reduce coverage under any homeowner’s insurance policy based on the ownership of any specific dog breed (or mixture of breeds).  It is effective March 15, 2023, the 90th day after it became law.  It solely applies to policies issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after that date.  It does not affect existing policies.  The COAL supported.

S.8973 (Hinchey)/ A.9296 (McDonald)

This bill amends the Agriculture and Markets Law Section 117 to allow a dog control officer or a peace officer to return a licensed dog seized by the officer to its owner of record instead of delivering the dog to a municipal pound or shelter.  It is effective immediately, December 15, 2022.  The COAL supported.

Bills passed by both houses but not yet delivered to the Governor


Bills on which COAL took a position that were not passed by the Legislature in 2022

S.90A (Kaminsky) / A.696A (Zebrowski)

This bill proposes significant revisions to the Agriculture and Markets Law related to the crimes of animal fighting and promoting animal fighting.  It conforms the associated penalties to New York’s penal code.  Two notable changes include the establishment of multi-layered offenses related to the facilitation of animal fighting, including the possession of bait animals, and the addition of Section 351-c (Promoting animal fighting in the third degree), a class C-felony.  By increasing the penalties for all animal fighting related activities and defining the enterprise related offenses which establish grounds to invoke the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), this legislation addresses many of the weaknesses undermining the current law.  The COAL supported.

S.418 (Hoylman) & A.1518 (L. Rosenthal)

These bills are not same as bills.  Both bills seek to amend the Environmental Conservation Law Sections 11-0536, 71-0924, and 71-0927 to add giraffes and all species of rhinoceros to the specifies already protected by provisions prohibiting their sale (or intent to sell), trade, or barter.  The bills also increase the penalties for violations.  Despite being a species at risk of extinction, giraffes are not protected under federal law and only two subspecies of rhinoceros are protected under current New York law. The bills have a discrepancy in their Section 4s regarding regulatory changes for implementation.  The COAL supported.

S.960 (Krueger) / A.2152 (L. Rosenthal)

This bill amends the definition of “aggravated cruelty to animals” to eliminate the element of the severity of the physical injury caused to an animal as the basis for a criminal charge and conviction.  Specifically, it proposes amendments to the elements of the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals under the Agriculture and Markets Law Section 353-a (1) by eliminating the requirement that the injury to the animal be “serious.”  Prosecutors report that some Courts refused to find defendants guilty because by the time the case involving the animal is before the Court, the animal has recovered from its serious injuries, although the other elements of the aggravated cruelty charge have been met.  This change would make it more likely for charges to be sustained regardless of an animal’s recovery from the act of cruelty.  The COAL supported.

S.1148 (Kaminsky) / A.6107 (Zebrowski)

This bill directs the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets to establish licensing and educational standards for individuals providing training services for companion dogs by adding new Section 113-a to the Agriculture and Markets Law (AML).  Trainers of service and police dogs as defined in AML Section 108 are excluded from the bill.  The bill prohibits anyone convicted of violating New York’s animal cruelty laws from obtaining a companion dog training license.  The bill establishes a licensing scheme under the Department of Agriculture and Markets.  Current New York Law does not regulate or address, in any way, the credentials, knowledge or experience of individuals advertising themselves as dog trainers.  The COAL supported.

S.1484 (Serrano) / A.3283 (L. Rosenthal)

This bill requires nuisance wildlife control operators (NWCO) to include in their reports to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) the incidents and reasons when lethal, rather than non-lethal methods, were used.  The bill also requires that the DEC’s list of NWCOs include any enforcement actions taken against NWCOs that are related to violations of nuisance wildlife control laws and regulations and that the list be made available to the public.  These changes are made by an amendment to Environmental Conservation Law Section 11-0524 (Nuisance wildlife control operators).  The goal is to increase transparency through the proposed reporting requirements.  This will allow the public to make informed choices among NWCOs and to select those who have demonstrated to be committed to using humane, non-lethal methods for managing nuisance wildlife whenever possible.  The COAL supported.

S.2176 (Sepulveda) / A.456 (L. Rosenthal)

This bill amends Agriculture and Markets Law Section 353-a (Aggravated cruelty) to extend protection to wildlife, in addition to companion animals, who are already protected.  The violation of Section 353-a is a felony.  Currently, felonious conduct, if perpetrated against wildlife, is a misdemeanor.  It is logically inconsistent to afford a pet rabbit, rat, frog, etc. protections they would not have if living as wildlife or to condemn more lightly pain and suffering because it is inflicted upon wildlife.  The bill, similarly to penal laws, focuses upon the conduct being proscribed rather than upon the nature of the victim.  The COAL supported.

S.2783 (Sepulveda) / A.715 (L. Rosenthal)

This bill authorizes emergency medical care personnel to provide basic first aid to dogs and cats found on the scene of an emergency situation.  Although first responders frequently tend to animals, New York’s law presently does not address this situation.  Specifically, this bill amends Public Health Law Section 3103 (Immunity from liability) and adds a new Section 3018 (Basic first aid to dogs and cats).  Additionally, the bill amends Education Law Sections 6702, 6703 and 6705 related to the practice of veterinary medicine by identifying the emergency first responders authorized to act and by allowing them to provide treatment to a dog or cat if no persons require medical attention at the time.  The bill states that to be authorized to provide a treatment to an animal, a first responder must be trained to provide the same treatment to a human.  The proposed law strikes a balance between the need to provide life-saving medical care to dogs and cats in an emergency and the need to ensure that medical professionals treat humans first.  The COAL supported.

S.3525-A (Bailey) / A.5315-A (L. Rosenthal)

This bill adds new Article 22-B, Section 858-a to the Judiciary Law to provide that in any civil or criminal proceeding regarding the welfare of an animal, the court may appoint a volunteer special advocate to represent the interests of the animal and to help ensure the well-being of any living animal victim.  The advocate will provide to the parties and the court information and recommendations relating to the interest of the animal.  The list of potential advocates, consisting of supervised law students and attorneys, would be maintained by the Office of Court Administration.  The COAL supported.

S.3835 (Addabbo) / A.1903 (L. Rosenthal)

This bill requires licensed pet dealers that house animals on their premises to have and maintain fire protection systems, including an automatic sprinkler system connected to municipal water supply, that meets the standards set forth in the legislation.  The scope of the bill is restricted to buildings that are not zoned as residential.  Specifically, this bill amends the Agriculture and Markets Law by adding Section 409 (Fire protection requirements for pet stores.)  The COAL supported with recommendations.

S.4081-A (Hinchey) & A.1769 (Lupardo)

These bills are not same as bills.  These bills amend Agriculture and Markets law Section 373 to require that a newly vacant property be inspected for any animals that might be left on the premises.  The bills would require an owner, lessor, or designee of property that has become vacant as a result of an eviction, foreclosure, forfeiture or default on a mortgage, trust deed or land sales contract, or abandonment to inspect such property within three days of such vacancy (Assembly bill) or within three days of when such person knew or should have known of such vacancy (Senate bill) to see if any animals were left behind in the premises.  If an owner, lessor, or designee discovers an animal that appears to have been abandoned, that person must notify a dog control officer, a police officer, or an agent of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.  The person who discovers the animal will not be deemed to be owner of such animal. Violators would be subject to fines of $500 to $1,000.  The COAL supported the Senate version of the bill.

S.4459 (Addabbo) / A.3467 (L. Rosenthal)

This bill amends the Environmental Conservation Law Sections 11-1101, 11-1901 and 11-1903 to prohibit the use of wildlife leg-gripping traps, which are used to trap furbearing animals such as beavers, raccoons, foxes and coyotes.  These traps are triggered by springs once an animal steps into them, clamping onto the animal’s limb and holding the animal in place until it is discovered by the trapper.  Leg-gripping traps inflict tremendous pain on animals and also present significant risks of catching non-target species, including humans and family pets, as they cannot discriminate between their victims.  More humane alternatives exist and are readily available.  The COAL supported.

S.4840-B (Biaggi) / A.5542 (Englebright)

This bill prohibits the use of wild animals as defined in Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Sections 11- 0103(6)(e) (for example, non-human primates, lions, tigers, bears, lemurs, wolves, alligators and other animals) from being used in circuses or traveling animal acts by adding a new Section 11-0541 to the ECL.  Exceptions are made for facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries.  Livestock and companion animals are not covered by the bill.  The COAL supported.

S.5058 (Reichlin-Melnick) / A.5728 (Glick)

This bill prohibits the use of lead ammunition in the hunting or management of wildlife on state-owned land.  Specifically, it amends Environmental Conservation Law Section 11-0901, Subdivision 3 by adding a new paragraph h prohibiting the use of lead ammunition on state owned/controlled lands.  The proposed ban is limited in scope, applying only to public lands and land area that contributes surface water to the water supply of New York City.  It is not a ban on hunting in these areas—rather, it requires the use of alternatives to lead ammunition.  Its purpose is to reduce lead exposure in humans and wildlife.  The COAL supported.

S.5156 (Brooks) / A.1549 (L. Rosenthal)

This bill adds new Section 837-w to the Executive Law to establish and maintain an Animal Cruelty Crime Database.  The database would be available to law enforcement entities, district attorneys, humane societies, Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCAs), dog and cat protective associations, and animal control officers.  The COAL suggested comprehensive amendments to this bill.

S.4999 (Skoufis) / A.3066 (Epstein) Opposed

This bill requires the Department of Agriculture and Markets to issue code red and blue alerts for companion animals to bring those animals indoors whenever a code red or blue alert has been issued.  Specifically, the legislation repeals and adds a new Section 353-d of the Agriculture and Markets Law (Code red and blue alerts for companion animals during extreme weather events).  The COAL opposed because there would be unintended consequences from the proposed legislation, including the elimination of current statutory life-saving protections afforded to companion animals left unattended in vehicles, exposing them to grave danger of serious injury and death.

S.5439 (Brisport) / A.703 (L. Rosenthal) Opposed

This bill adds new Section 399-bbbb to the General Business Law prohibiting, with exceptions, the sale and manufacture of fur products.  The bill prohibits the commercial sale, procurement, manufacturing, retail display, giving, donating, trade, or other distributions of a new or used fur product within New York State. Violators would be subject to $500 to $1,000 fines with potential liability for attorney’s fees.  Definitions of fur and fur products include exceptions for types of leather, cowhide, and sheepskin products. Used furs held by individuals not normally engaged in the fur business, non-profit organizations, manufactures of used fur products, thrift stores and pawn shops are also excepted.  Subdivision 5 exempts manufacture, sale, and distribution of fur products that conform with a religious or cultural practice.  The undefined terms, “religious” and “cultural practice” can virtually eliminate the effect of the bill’s prohibitions as catch-all exceptions.  Unlike the previous exceptions, subdivision 5 has potential for unintended, harmful consequences undermining the sponsors’ intent and the bill’s purpose. The COAL opposed the passage and enactment of this legislation in its present form.

S.6005 (Sanders) / A.7852 (Hunter)

This bill authorizes the Division of Veteran Affairs to provide eligible veterans with financial assistance for purchasing, training and the upkeep of service as well as emotional support dogs.  Specifically, this legislation amends the Executive Law by adding a new Section 368-a to provide grants to veterans suffering from PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury for the purchase and training of a service dog and/or an emotional support dog.  It also provides monetary monthly assistance for the upkeep of the dog.  The COAL supported.

S.6419 (Brisport) / A.1302 (L. Rosenthal)

This bill amends the Social Services Law (SSL) to increase eligibility and income deductions for disabled people who have guide dogs, hearing dogs and service dogs by repealing SSL Section 303-a and adding new SSL Section 131-y.  This bill defines a service dog more broadly than the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition does.  The bill affects deductions from declared income in two ways.  First, a dog’s veterinary expenses can be added to a dog’s food expenses as necessary living expenses for the purpose of determining the amount of federal security income benefits and/or additional state payments that eligible disabled people may receive.  Second, the monthly minimum income deduction for eligible disabled people goes up from $35 to $50, although there is no limit on the actual amount that an eligible disabled person can deduct as necessary living expenses for the amount spent on veterinary care and dog food.  This bill also expands the beneficiaries under the SSL by including those who receive supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits, medical assistance for needy persons, and/or additional state payments under the same SSL chapter.  The COAL supported.

S.6484 (Skoufis) / A.341 (Zebrowski) Opposed

This bill expands the definition of circumstances under which it is deemed lawful for a judge to order that a dangerous dog be euthanized or permanently confined.  Specifically, this legislation amends the Agricultural and Markets Law Section 123 to clarify the circumstances where a dangerous dog is considered to have caused the death of another animal without justification and while trespassing on another person’s property.  The COAL opposed.