NY Senate passes legislation to strengthen protections for racehorses

State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.
Photo by Paul Frangipane

On Thursday, Apr. 11, the Senate approved legislation that significantly enhances protections for pets and animals, coinciding with Animal Cruelty Prevention Month. The bill now awaits Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., who represents New York Senate District 15, received the approval of his legislation S.6796A, which would strengthen enforcement efforts of the state’s anti-slaughter of racehorses and racehorse breeding stock law.

If given the final approval from Hochul, Addabbo’s legislation would require the installation of adequate signage that states it is illegal to sell or transfer animals for slaughter at all racehorse auctions.

“My bill, S.6796, aims to protect our beloved racehorses and uphold their dignity,” Addabbo said. “By strengthening enforcement measures and imposing stricter penalties, we send a clear message that the inhumane treatment of these majestic animals will not be tolerated in our state.”

Addabbo is also looking to fast-track two other pieces of co-sponsored legislation that aim to further expose animal abusers to full legal repercussions and extend the number of years a judge could enforce if a person is prosecuted for animal cruelty.

The bill that will clarify the felony for aggravated cruelty to animals, S.761, will eliminate the word “serious” from the “serious physical injury” language of the Agriculture and Markets Law, according to the legislation.

Altering the language would expand the penalties for someone charged with aggravated cruelty, even if the assault is not successful and the animal makes a full recovery.

A push to provide more specifics behind the legislation comes from an animal cruelty case dating back to 2014, when a perpetrator was given a conditional discharge after being convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, Addabbo’s office shared.

The legislation reads that Addabbo’s second co-sponsored legislation, S.5325, seeks to enact Tucker’s Law, which would allow judges to give consecutive or concurrent sentences past two years to those convicted of multiple animal cruelty charges.

“These bills are crucial steps in ensuring the well-being and dignity of our animal friends, and I am proud to support these measures that uphold their rights and welfare,” Addabbo added.

Both S.761 and S.5325 remain under consideration by the Assembly Agriculture Committee, awaiting further approval. Addabbo’s bill, S.6796A, passed the Assembly on Mar. 25, 2024, and now awaits the Governor’s signature to become law.