Buster’s Law was named after an 18-month-old tabby cat that had been doused with kerosene and burned to death by a Schenectady teen. Prior to this bill becoming law, animal cruelty resulted in only misdemeanor penalties, if any charges were imposed at all.
As research indicates, violence against animals is a bridge crime that can, and has, led to violence against people.
Since the 1997 arrest that inspired the creation of Buster’s Law, the perpetrator who abused the cat has been imprisoned for various crimes, including attempted rape, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment of a 12-year-old girl.
We have taken a huge step forward to protect our pets but there are still miles to go. It seems like every day, we hear of a new case of animal cruelty, abuse or hoarding. And each new incident seems to be worse then the last one.
That’s why Sen. Ball and I are sponsoring the second New York State Animal Advocacy Day which will be held on Wednesday, June 13, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Well of the Legislative Office Building in Albany. The event is free and open to the public.
We’ll be calling for several bi-partisan measures to strengthen Buster’s Law to require that animal abusers be placed on a statewide registry of abusers, prohibit them from ever owning a companion animal again, and require them to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. We’ll also be advocating for measures that have passed in the Senate but have not yet been taken up in the Assembly to prohibit the sale and possession of animal fighting paraphernalia and to make it a felony to steal a pet.
Animal Advocacy Day also aims to raise awareness of enforcing current animal cruelty laws. That’s why I’m delighted that Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy, who has successfully prosecuted animal cruelty cases, will again be a speaker. And this year, we will hear from Schenectady County District Attorney Bob Carney, who handled the original Buster’s case.