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Legislative Update: Animals and the Law

Legislative Update: Animals and the Law


The New York State Legislature considers a growing number of bills every year related to issues involving animals of all types. In 2019, the legislature approved more animal-related bills than they have in any recent year, a reflection of the growing role that animals play in our lives. The NYSBA Committee on Animals and the Law monitors all the bills, takes positions on many of them, and drafts memos for the legislature that provides information on aspects of proposed bills that are not always readily apparent. This program from the committee will summarize and explain the provisions and the implications of the eight animal-related bills passed by the legislature in 2019 – the three signed into law by the governor, and the five that are awaiting gubernatorial action, due before December 31. They range from bills affecting companion animals to others involving wildlife, marine mammals and wild birds.

The program will discuss each bill separately, emphasizing how the changes in the law will impact certain areas of legal practice, and may change the advice that attorneys provide their clients. Some of the issues addressed in the bills go beyond legal practice and instead address emerging animal protection and animal welfare concerns. Discussion of this aspect of the bills will show how the legal profession can become knowledgeable about and involved in issues that are important to the public and provide a service to clients and the public at large.


Legislation to be discussed:

Signed into Law

Chapter 107; S.5532-B (Gianaris) – prohibits declawing of cats.

Chapter 137; A.7053 (Thiele) –allows additional authorized individuals (firefighters, EMS personnel) to remove an animal from an unattended MV when the animal is in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury due to extreme heat or cold.

Chapter 149;  A.216 (Paulin) –requires pet dealers to provide enhanced conditions for animals kept on their premises, including diurnal light cycles, separate space for pregnant or nursing dogs, sanitary food receptacles, cage cleaning at certain intervals, veterinary care, and grooming.

Passed by Legislature; awaiting gubernatorial action

S.4802 (Martinez) – requires the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, working with other agencies and stakeholders, to identify and develop standards for therapy dogs, their handlers and facilities using them.

S.5098 (Martinez) – requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to designate certain species as vulnerable species if they are not currently protected as endangered species.

A.6520 (Englebright) – establishes the marine mammal and sea turtle protection area.

A.1599 (Hunter) – provides for the issuance of cull permits to take wildlife under conditions described in the bill.

S.25-B (Hoylman) – the “bird-friendly building council act;” establishes a council to promote the use of bird-friendly building materials and design features to address and reduce bird mortalities resulting from birds’ collisions with buildings.


Barbara J. Ahern, Esq. | Albany

James F. Gesualdi, Esq. | Islip

Charis B. Nick-Torok, Esq. | Poughkeepsie

Non-Member Price: $275.00
Published Date:
  • November 13, 2019
  • Online On-Demand
Product Code:
  • VGS91
Areas Of Professional Practice Credit(s):
  • 1.5
Total Credit(s):
  • 1.5
Recorded Date:
  • 1hr 30min