Legislation would increase penalties for aggravated cruelty to animals
Republican State Sen. Mark Grisanti has announced the passage of "Phoenix's Law" in the State Senate. This legislation would increase certain penalties for aggravated cruelty to animals.
Grisanti is urging his colleagues in the New York State Assembly to pass this legislation. This is the second consecutive year Grisanti has sponsored and passed "Phoenix's Law" in the State Senate.
Grisanti's bill calls for an act to amend the agriculture and markets law by increasing certain penalties for aggravated cruelty to animals by doubling the penalties as well as requiring the individual found guilty of the crime to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
"In light of the case that took place in Western New York two years ago when a dog was purposely set on fire, I believe it is imperative that action be taken to ensure a horrific incident like that ever happens again in our community or anyone else in the state," Grisanti said.
The Buffalo incident occurred Oct. 29, 2012, and resulted in Phoenix, a 5-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, suffering severe burns after he was intentionally set on fire. Phoenix miraculously survived that incident as well as prior weeks of abuse by two individuals.
Phoenix's situation served as a rallying cry for changes to animal abuse laws, not only in Western New York, but also across the state. Grisanti has heard from many of his constituents, including employees and volunteers at local animal shelters, who favor this proposed legislation.
"Mistreatment of any animal is something that should never be tolerated," Grisanti said. "I want to see Phoenix's Law placed on the books so that we have legislation that helps deliver stiff punishment for anyone convicted of such a horrific act. By strengthening the penalties and requiring psychiatric evaluation of the perpetrators, we will be able to better protect our animals, as well as the public as a whole."
Grisanti was recently honored by the ASPCA for his advocacy on multiple pet-protection bills, including Phoenix's Law.