Prohibits the dissemination of depictions of animal cruelty.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to prohibiting the dissemination of depictions of animal cruelty
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to outlaw the dissemination and possession of videos which depict animal cruelty, including those known as crush videos by making such dissemination a class D felony.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Establishes that a person is guilty of disseminating a depiction of animal cruelty when he or she knowingly promotes such a depiction.
Defines "depiction of animal cruelty" as any visual depiction which shows an animal being intentionally tortured, maimed, or mutilated.
Provides for an exemption for hunting videos.
Establishes that disseminating a depiction of animal cruelty is a class D felony.
JUSTIFICATION: Animal crush videos are videos that depict a woman, typically in bare feet or high heels, slowly crushing a small animal (such as a puppy, kitten, bunny, or mouse) to death. In some, the woman's voice can be heard talking to the animals in a dominatrix pattern as the squeaks and cries of the animal are also audible. Though the actions depicted in animal crush videos are illegal under animal cruelty statutes, it is virtually impossible to prosecute such offenses due to the fact that the individuals shown are rarely identifiable.
The Supreme Court of the United States recently struck down a law which outlawed the creation, sale, or possession of certain depictions of animal cruelty on the grounds that the statute infringed on the first amendment right to free speech. However, the court also noted that in its decision, it did not "decide whether a statute limited to crush videos or other depictions of extreme animal cruelty would be unconstitutional," noting that the overturned law was simply too broad and would have applied to any video which showed the killing of an animal, including hunting videos.
This bill is much narrower than the federal statute which was overturned, and would outlaw the dissemination of only certain depictions of animal cruelty. This bill would only apply to depictions of animal cruelty that are illegal and depict a living animal that is tortured, maimed or mutilated. It provides an exemption for hunting videos (which are commonly used for instruction) as well as those videos which are of religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act takes effect on the first November next succeeding the date it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 440 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. KRUEGER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to prohibiting the dissem- ination of depictions of animal cruelty THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 245.13 to read as follows: S 245.13 DISSEMINATING A DEPICTION OF ANIMAL CRUELTY. 1. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF DISSEMINATING A DEPICTION OF ANIMAL CRUELTY WHEN HE OR SHE KNOWINGLY PROMOTES A DEPICTION OF ANIMAL CRUELTY. 2. AS USED IN THIS SECTION: A. "DEPICTION OF ANIMAL CRUELTY" MEANS ANY VISUAL DEPICTION, INCLUDING ANY PHOTOGRAPH, MOTION-PICTURE FILM, VIDEO RECORDING OR ELECTRONIC IMAGE, WHICH DEPICTS AN ANIMAL BEING INTENTIONALLY INJURED OR KILLED, THAT: (1) DEPICTS ACTUAL CONDUCT IN WHICH A LIVING ANIMAL IS TORTURED, MAIMED, OR MUTILATED THAT VIOLATES ANY CRIMINAL PROHIBITION ON INTEN- TIONAL CRUELTY UNDER FEDERAL LAW OR STATE LAW; AND (2) TAKEN AS A WHOLE, DOES NOT HAVE RELIGIOUS, POLITICAL, SCIENTIFIC, EDUCATIONAL, JOURNALISTIC, HISTORICAL, OR ARTISTIC VALUE. B. "PROMOTE" MEANS TO MANUFACTURE, CREATE, ISSUE, SELL, GIVE, PROVIDE, POSSESS, FURNISH, LEND, MAIL, DELIVER, TRANSFER, TRANSMIT, PUBLISH, DISTRIBUTE, CIRCULATE, DISSEMINATE, PRESENT, EXHIBIT OR ADVERTISE, OR TO OFFER TO AGREE TO DO THE SAME. 3. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT THE SELLING OR OFFERING TO SELL A VIDEO THAT DEPICTS HUNTING. DISSEMINATING A DEPICTION OF ANIMAL CRUELTY IS A CLASS D FELONY, PUNISHABLE BY IMPRISONMENT OR BY BOTH IMPRISONMENT AND FINE. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00739-01-1