I am pleased to announce that A.62-A/S.4796-A, legislation I authored, was passed by the New York State Assembly this week.
The bill would improve the process by which animal-sheltering organizations may responsibly meet the costs associated with caring for the victims of animal cruelty during a criminal investigation. Under current law, sheltering organizations holding these animals are able to petition the court for the posting of a security. This legislation will clarify that such a petition may be filed with the court in which criminal charges have been filed.
The shelters and organizations that take care of these poor, abused animals are doing such wonderful work. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether the costs of bringing these animals back to health will be recovered. Nor should they have to jump through hoops just too simply get the costs covered.
The issue of whether a criminal court has jurisdiction to hear the petition for a security posting has arisen multiple times in courts throughout New York City, and in other jurisdictions as well. Judges have questioned their authority to hear these petitions, and the issue has also been raised by defense attorneys in opposition to these petitions. Each time this happens, the sheltering organization that brought the petition must submit filings arguing that the court does, in fact, have jurisdiction.
This legislation will help to resolve one issue that can create significant time lags, cost shelters money, and compromise animal health and well-being. Clarifying that a sheltering organization may file a petition for a security posting with the court in which criminal charges have been filed will help to streamline the process for organizations seeking a security and will also help to avoid unnecessary jurisdictional challenges.
Andrew Lanza (R-24) sponsored the bill in the Senate.