NY Senate Passes Pet Protection Bill

The New York State Senate today passed a bill to help prevent the theft of pets by increasing the penalties for committing the crime.

The New York State Senate today passed a bill to help prevent the theft of pets by increasing the penalties for committing the crime.

The bill (S.946), sponsored by Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset), would make stealing a licensed dog or cat a felony and takes into account the monetary and emotional value of a pet.

“Dogs and cats are stolen and sold for many reasons: dog-fighting, puppy-mills, prey for exotic animals and fur for clothing and accessories,” said Senator Marcellino.  “Our pets are a loving, vital part of the family.  It is impossible to place a dollar value on the love and companionship provided by our pets.  Those who cruelly steal pets for heinous purposes deserve to be tried and convicted of a felony.”

According to the American Kennel Club’s database of customer and media reports, there is a continuing trend of pet thefts in the United States, with a 49 percent increase in the number of pets reported stolen in the first seven months of 2011 as compared to 2010.

Law enforcement often takes limited action on reported thefts of dogs and cats because currently in New York, the dollar value of stolen property needed to qualify for felony larceny is $1,000. It is often very difficult to establish the value of a dog or cat, particularly when the animal is not recovered. Even when the stolen dog or cat is a pedigree, it is still difficult to place a dollar amount on the animal because lineage is only one factor to be considered when estimating value. This bill would change existing law to include the theft of pets as grand larceny, making the crime a class E felony.

The bill will now be sent to the Assembly.

43 thoughts on “NY Senate Passes Pet Protection Bill

  1. I don’t understand why this is a “could be” put behind bars kinda thing…it is a little bit worse than stealing somebody’s bike or something. It is a living,breathing thing that someone wants to turn into bait or into a lab experiment or something…I say it should be a you WILL be put behind bars deal…

  2. they need this here in Canada I had my little dogs stolen and never found them the police treated like it was just a pain and I was told by the OSPCA here they don`t help look for stolen animals

  3. This was a big problem for pet owners in the 60s – yes, I’m THAT old. If I caught anyone trying to lure one of my dogs (or cats) they wouldn’t have to worry about jail time, but I probably would.

  4. I agree with you Scott. If they consider pets as possessions, isn’t stealing someone else’s possessions illegal?

  5. So very happy, I so do hope this gets to Texas too. I had two neighbors steal two of my dogs. They refused to give them back and I see them all the time at their house. And when I called the police they just shrugged it off. Said that it is not a police matter. That their is nothing they could do. What??? Seriously?? It’s been too many years since this happened for this law to help me now with those dogs. But I am relieved that change is being made finally!!!!

  6. here in Alabama, we have the right to defend our property using deadly force. Our dogs are considered our property and if anyone tries to steal them, they take the chance of ending up dead. I love this law.

    1. I am glad to hear that. Are you sure that, legally, dogs are considered your property and that deadly force can be used to protect them if someone tries to steal them? I am all for it, but was wondering if it would stand up in court.

  7. there is nothing MORE valuable that a person’s dog–of course peole should be jailed for stealing them from their owners

  8. If you harm or attempt to harm my little Scout then jail would be the least of a criminals concerns. Its kidnapping and you wouldn’t leave my house on 2 legs.

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