Relates to protection of the public from attack by wild animals.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to protection of the public from attack by wild animals
PURPOSE: To provide a more effective deterrent to those who own, possess or harbor wild animals, the legislation would increase the penalty for such conduct from misdemeanor to felony grade.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill amends Section 370 of the Agriculture and Markets Law to increase the penalty for owning, possessing or harboring a wild animal which is capable of inflicting bodily harm.
EXISTING LAW: The current law proscribes the possession and/or harboring of a wild animal as a misdemeanor punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment.
JUSTIFICATION: Recent cases have demonstrated that the law as it now exists does not serve to deter those who own, possess or harbor wild animals in settings which are entirely inappropriate. More and more, particularly in urban locales, individuals choose to harbor animals such as tigers and alligators within residential premises. These animals pose an obvious danger to the public and especially small children.
Whether it is by local law or the current state enactment found in Section 370 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, the act of simple possession of wild or dangerous animals is punished only to the extent of misdemeanor grade. It appears that little deterrent is provided by the current state of the law to those who are inclined to jeopardize the safety of others in such a reckless manner.
This bill would not change any of the substantive elements of the offenses as outlined in Section 370, but would increase the penalty to a non classified felony, which by definition is punishable as a Penal Law E felony, permitting imprisonment of up to four years.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2007-2008: S.1070 - Referred to Consumer Protection 2005-2006: S.474 - Third Reading/Consumer Protection 2004: S.6242 - Third Reading
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2195 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 18, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SALAND -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to protection of the public from attack by wild animals THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 370 of the agriculture and markets law, as added by chapter 1047 of the laws of 1965, is amended to read as follows: S 370. Protection of the public from attack by wild animals and reptiles. Any person owning, possessing or harboring a wild animal or reptile capable of inflicting bodily harm upon a human being, who shall fail to exercise due care in safeguarding the public from attack by such wild animal or reptile, is guilty of a
[misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or by both]FELONY. "Wild animal" within the mean- ing of this section, shall not include a dog or cat or other domestic animal. Previous attacks upon a human being by such wild animal or reptile, or knowledge of the vicious propensities of such wild animal or reptile, on the part of the possessor or harborer thereof, shall not be required to be proven by the people upon a prosecution hereunder; and neither the fact that such wild animal or reptile has not previously attacked a human being, nor lack of knowledge of the vicious propensities of such wild animal or reptile on the part of the owner, possessor or harborer thereof shall constitute a defense to a prosecution hereunder. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05321-01-1