Authorizes DA on behalf of impounding organizations to file a petition seeking a security for the reasonable costs for caring for seized animals from individuals convicted of certain animal cruelty and animal fighting offenses.
Ayes (62): Adams, Addabbo, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Boyle, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Espaillat, Farley, Felder, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Gipson, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Hoylman, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, Latimer, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Marchione, Martins, Maziarz, Montgomery, Nozzolio, O'Brien, O'Mara, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Sanders, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Tkaczyk, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Excused (1): Sampson
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to orders of restitution in certain cases
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To require courts to hold a hearing within a reasonable time to determine whether the person from whom an animal is seized, or the owner of the animal, should be ordered to post a security to reimburse the impounding organization such as a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society, pound, animal shelter, or any authorized agents thereof for the cost of expenses for the seized animal.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section one provides the legislative purpose.
Section two amends paragraph a of subdivision 6 of section 373 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 586 of the laws of 2008 by providing that within a reasonable time after arraignment, the impounding organization may file a petition with the court requesting that the owner of the seized animal be ordered to post a security for the reasonable expenses. The district attorney prosecuting the charges may file and obtain the requested relief on behalf of the impounding organization if requested to do so by the impounding organization.
Section three amends paragraphs b of subdivision 6 of section 373 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 256 of the laws of 1997 by providing certain procedural changes regarding service and filing of papers. This section provides that the district attorney or the petitioner shall have the burden of proof.
Section four provides the effective date.
Often in cases of animal cruelty, animals are seized by a law enforcement agent and placed in the care of organizations such as shelters, humane societies, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA) and rescue organizations for the durations of criminal proceedings. Such organizations have provided costly services to house and care for these animals, often with little or no reimbursement.
The financial burden of caring for many animals, often for lengthy periods of time, is forcing some organizations to stop assisting law enforcement with housing seized animals. Where there is no organization to care for seized animals, law enforcement is less likely to conduct seizures and animals remain in abusive situations and conditions.
New York law gives courts discretion to require the defendant in an animal cruelty case to post a security with the court to cover the cost to the shelter for the animal's care. Especially if impounding organizations must first petition the court to order the security
posting, many impounding organizations do not have legal counsel and are unaware that they have the option to seek this reimbursement.
For example in 2010, 73 horses and over 50 cats were seized from an individual from Erie County. These animals were placed in the care of the Erie County SPCA in March of that year, but had to wait for 9 months until there was a hearing for the security to be set. By the time of the hearing in December 2010, the SPCA had spent about $600,000 caring for the horses alone. As of January 2013, the SPCA has spent $1.4 million and received approximately $300,000 from the defendant.
This bill seeks to ease the financial burden on impounding organizations that are caring for such animals. It requires that upon arraignment of charges or within a reasonable time after, the court holds a hearing to order the owner of the animal(s) to post a security to cover the reasonable costs of care for the animals from the time of seizure and impoundment. For impounding organizations that lack the resources, the district attorney shall have the burden of proof of evidence, unless the impounding organization requests to do it on its own behalf.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
A.9400, 2010 passed Assembly. A.3166 (Bradley), 2009 passed Assembly. Same as S.3155 (Johnson C.), 2010, 2009 referred to Agriculture Committee. A.259, 2011 and 2012, passed Assembly. Same as S.3806 (Ball), 2011 reported and committed to Rules and 2012 referred to agriculture.
None to the state.
The ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2665--B 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 23, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. BALL, AVELLA, ESPAILLAT, HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to orders of restitution in certain cases THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative purpose. Animal cruelty and animal fighting are serious crimes in New York state. Because crimes against animals often involve the seizure of the victimized animals, these cases pose unique challenges to law enforcement agencies throughout this state. These challenges involve arranging for the housing and care of the animals while the criminal case is pending. Private organizations, such as shel- ters, humane societies and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals have traditionally assisted law enforcement agencies by provid- ing care for these animals (which preserves the "evidence" seized in criminal matters) with little or no reimbursement. It is imperative to the continued prosecution of animal cruelty cases that these private organizations be reimbursed for the care that they provide to these victimized animals. Many private organizations are declining to offer assistance in these cases because of the enormous financial burden of caring for a large number of animals for extended time periods with no assurance of reimbursement for these services. If there are no resources to care for the animals once they are seized, law enforcement is less likely to conduct the seizures in the first place. The legislature therefore intends to implement legislation that will improve the state's ability to ensure proper security and reimbursementEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD07156-07-3 S. 2665--B 2
for impounding organizations providing care on behalf of the state of abused animals. S 2. Paragraph a of subdivision 6 of section 373 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 586 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows: a. If any animal is seized and impounded pursuant to the provisions of this section, section three hundred fifty-three-d of this article or section three hundred seventy-five of this article for any violation of this article, upon arraignment of charges, OR WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME THEREAFTER, the duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society, pound, animal shelter or any authorized agents thereof, hereinafter referred to for the purposes of this section as the "impounding organization", may file a petition with the court requesting that the person from whom an animal is seized or the owner of the animal be ordered to post a security.
[The security]THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY PROSECUTING THE CHARGES MAY FILE AND OBTAIN THE REQUESTED RELIEF ON BEHALF OF THE IMPOUNDING ORGANIZATION IF REQUESTED TO DO SO BY THE IMPOUNDING ORGANIZATION. THE SECURITY shall be in an amount suffi- cient to secure payment for all reasonable expenses expected to be incurred by the impounding organization in caring and providing for the animal pending disposition of the charges. Reasonable expenses shall include, but not be limited to, estimated medical care and boarding of the animal for at least thirty days. The amount of the security, if any, shall be determined by the court after taking into consideration all of the facts and circumstances of the case including, but not limited to the recommendation of the impounding organization having custody and care of the seized animal and the cost of caring for the animal. If a security has been posted in accordance with this section, the impounding organization may draw from the security the actual reasonable costs to be incurred by such organization in caring for the seized animal. S 3. Subparagraph 1 of paragraph b of subdivision 6 of section 373 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 256 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: (1) Upon receipt of a petition pursuant to paragraph a of this subdi- vision the court shall set a hearing on the petition to be conducted within ten business days of the filing of such petition. The petitioner shall serve a true copy of the petition upon the defendant and the district attorney IF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY HAS NOT FILED THE PETITION ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER. The petitioner shall also serve a true copy of the petition on any interested person. For purposes of this subdivision, interested person shall mean an individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate or other legal entity who the court determines may have a pecuniary interest in the animal which is the subject of the petition. The petitioner OR THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER, shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the person from whom the animal was seized violated a provision of this article. The court may waive for good cause shown the posting of security. S 4. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.