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N.Y. Legislature Considering "Felony Murder" for Pets

March 24, 2017

The New York State Senate recently passed, by a vote of 59-2, a law that would make it a felony to harm a companion animal during the commission of a crime.  Dubbed "Kirby and Quigley's Law," the proposed bill is analogous to a "felony murder" statute by criminalizing even accidental harms or death to pets occurring during another crime.  The proposed bill authorizes a $5000 fine or two years in jail.

 

Though the bill has passed the Senate during each of the past five legislative sessions, the bill has died in committee.  Opponents of the law find the bill unnecessary.  New York law already criminalizes assaulting or killing animals—a felony to do so with malicious intent.  To expand current protections to include unintentional harms, opponents argue, provides little added deterrence.

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