Bella’s Bill – A Major Step Forward for New York’s AnimalsPosted on May 31, 2018
Bella, an eleven-year-old Shepherd mix, was killed on December 23, 2016 by her caregiver. The defendant tightened a zip tie around her neck, stuffed her in a garbage bag, and beat her with a metal shovel. Due to the extent of her injuries, Bella was euthanized. Despite the seriousness of the crime, Bella’s abuser received only four months in county jail – a sentence that falls far short of justice for Bella.
New Yorkers were rightfully outraged – the punishment should fit the crime. That’s why we’re excited to share that New York State Senator Andrew Lanza introduced Senate Bill 8724, informally known as “Bella’s Bill,” to overhaul New York’s outdated animal cruelty laws. It’s about time – this year, New York ranked in the worst ten states in our annual U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report.
Senator Lanza’s important bill would, among other changes, transfer animal cruelty laws out of the Agriculture & Markets Law and into the Penal Code. This sounds like a small detail, but it’s not. This move will ensure crimes against animals are treated as “real” crimes by law enforcement officials. The bill also enhances penalties for people convicted of intentional animal abuse.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is working closely with Senator Lanza’s office to ensure the bill’s passage. But we need your help to make Bella’s Bill law.
Sign your name to the open letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to support Bella’s Bill and make strengthening New York’s outdated animal cruelty laws a priority.