State Sen. Mark Grisanti has announced that the New York State Senate has voted to pass Bill S.2409D, which amends the agriculture and markets law to provide for the training and certification of animal control officers. The Agriculture Department will create a program to provide training, examination and certification for dog control officers, police officers and peace officers who deal with animal control or animal abuse issues. This legislation is needed to protect both people and animals from untrained officers.
The bill requires any person who deals with animal control to complete a training course within one year. They must pass an examination given by the Department of Agriculture. Training shall include such issues as the role of the investigator in cases of animal abuse; appropriate human handling of animals and general animal control; how to evaluate animal cruelty and abuse; how to evaluate facilities where animals are kept; how to properly collect evidence; laws and rules of search and seizure; community policing and interaction; crisis and intervention safety; and how to identify an animal's owner.
"I am pleased the Senate has passed this bill for the safety of animals and officers alike," Grisanti said. "Past incidents have demonstrated that animals can be needlessly subjected to brutal force when untrained personnel are placed in stressful situations. This training and continual education will help officers make the proper decisions in critical moments protecting both themselves and the animals they are trying to protect."
An incident in Lackawanna prompted this bill. A part-time animal control officer responding to a stray cat call on June 10, 2008, at an apartment complex on Eagan Drive encountered a mother cat and two kittens in the basement, felt threatened and took out his rifle to shoot the three animals. He was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.