Bella's Bill Could Toughen New York's Weak Animal Cruelty Laws

  • by: Laura G
  • recipient: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; Members of the New York State Assembly; Members of the New York State Senate

Bella, an 11-year-old German shepherd mix, had been adopted when she was just a puppy by Michael Gallagher and his family, who live in Long Island, NY.

In 2016, Gallagher decided to kill his dog.

When his attempts to strangle Bella with a zip tie didn't work, Gallagher threw her in a trash bag and beat her head with a shovel. Bella somehow survived, but her injuries were so severe that she had to be euthanized.

Gallagher pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. His sentence? Only four months in jail, followed by five years of probation and a 20-year ban on owning any other animals.

Sign and share the petition urging New York lawmakers to enact tougher animal cruelty laws.

Gallagher's punishment didn't fit his horrendous crime because New York is one of only 13 U.S. states in which animal cruelty is not part of the penal code. Instead, these crimes fall under the Agriculture and Markets section of state law.

This means that crimes against animals are basically treated the same as crimes against property. Gallagher could have served more time in prison if he'd hit someone's car with that shovel.

To update these antiquated laws, New York State Senator Andrew Lanza has introduced "Bella's Bill" (Senate Bill S8724), named in memory of that poor dog. It would move animal cruelty laws to the penal code and increase jail time for people convicted of animal abuse.

It's time for New York to toughen up on these abusers and join the majority of other states that include animal cruelty under their penal code. Please sign and share this petition telling the state's legislators to support Bella's Bill.

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