This New York law is for the dogs (and cats)

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Technically it’s not a law… yet. At this point, it’s still a proposed law, or more accurately a bill.

Some say that it has little chance of being passed. I say it will be a horrible injustice if it doesn’t.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

The legislation that I’m referring to is called “Kirby and Quigley’s Law,” and it would punish anyone who hurts or kills a companion animal during the commission of another crime. Punishment upon conviction would be a $5,000 fine and two years behind bars in addition to incarceration for the original crime.

‘Poster pups’

According to media accounts, Denise Krohn, whose dogs were shot and killed when someone burglarized her home last year, “hopes to gain some measure of justice by making her pets the poster pups” for the bill.

“It’s just not right,” Krohn told the New York media. “I don’t care about the TVs and other stuff. What hurts us every day is losing our dogs.”

What makes matters worse for  Krohn is knowing that the perpetrator(s) will likely go unpunished for killing her dogs as things now stand. As the police working the case reportedly told her, “if someone is caught, they would likely get 25 years in jail for burglary, but no additional punishment for killing the dogs.”

On the other hand, if “Kirby and Quigley’s Law” does pass, experts that spoke with the New York media said it would become “one of the toughest animal-cruelty charges” in the United States.

Jim Tedisco is the New York state senator who introduced the legislation in 2012 — long before the burglars that targeted Krohn’s home killed her dogs. His impetus for doing so was another case, in which drug smugglers used dogs to move their product. Although the perpetrators in that case were ultimately convicted on drug charges, they were never charged with animal cruelty.

“Attorneys said it had nothing to do with cruelty, they were just smuggling heroin,” Tedisco told News 4 New York. “What this bill does is make it clear that if you harm a companion animal while committing another crime, you face an additional penalty.”

A reluctant advocate

Passage of the bill is hardly a slam dunk. Critics, including State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, say it is unnecessary. Existing cruelty laws are sufficient, they maintain.

Krohn begs to differ. She’s reportedly written numerous letters to state lawmakers — and  the retired teacher vows to keep it up until “Kirby and Quigley’s Law” becomes a reality.

“I never thought of myself as an animal activist,” she said. “I just want to do what’s right.”

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