Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) held a press conference this morning, Friday, May 12, 2023, along with other elected officials at the Putnam County SPCA with respect to legislation he introduced that authorizes bail for those charged with aggravated cruelty to animals (A.05820).
Under the 2019 bail “reform” laws in New York state, individuals charged with this offense are not eligible to be held with bail. As such, there are no safeguards in place to prevent an offender from repeating their offenses immediately upon release. Additionally, there has been an unsettling crossover between animal abusers and domestic violence cases, as 75% of domestic violence victims have reported their abuser has harmed or threatened to harm their pet. Slater’s legislation would grant bail eligibility in the hopes of preventing more harm from being done to innocent pets and humans.
“For all of Gov. Hochul's talk of fixing bail it is clear she failed. Animal cruelty has been established as a gateway crime to child abuse, domestic violence and even school shootings. Despite these facts New York State does not recognize aggravated animal cruelty as a bail eligible offense which only allows offenders to repeat these terrible crimes and to escalate their actions and create new victims. It is shameful that New York State does not recognize these correlations and give law enforcement and judges the ability to set bail on these crimes,” said Slater.
“If you look at the people who commit these evil, violent acts against animals, it’s clear they are dangerous and need to be kept off the streets. Animal cruelty must be a bail eligible offense. This is just another example of politicians in Albany not understanding the obvious consequences of their actions,” said Kevin Byrne, Putnam County Executive.
“The legislation Assemblyman Matt Slater has put forth is an important and needed change to bail reform. Animals have no voice and are among the weakest and easiest victims to terrorize. Studies show that individuals who commit these heinous crimes against animals will ultimately commit crimes against humans. In Putnam County, shown by the support of our assemblyman, county exec, district attorney and all the police agencies represented, we understand the correlation between animal cruelty and crimes against humans and hope the proposed bill helps in the fight against cruelty to animals,” said Chief Ken Ross of the Putnam County SPCA.
“According to the FBI, 75% of abused women with pets reported a history of being threatened or intentionally harmed by their abuser. If that isn’t enough, those with children being present and witnessing the violence are over 90% of the time. Additionally, animal cruelty is a strong predictor of current and future violations. It is time we do something and this is a good step,” said Kevin McConville, Putnam County Sheriff.
“The Carmel Police Department supports Assemblyman Slater’s efforts to make aggravated animal cruelty a bail-eligible offense in New York. Not only are those who commit these crimes displaying a lack of common human decency that questions their ability to respond to and abide by court appearances and orders, but far too often we see the connection between these crimes and those who commit more heinous acts against people. Bail in these cases would allow judges the ability to prevent this from becoming worse by not letting these offenders free to endanger our communities further,” said Chief Hoffman, Town of Carmel Police Department.
“This law will give a voice to those who can’t speak. Without these open discussions we wouldn’t be able to make positive changes. And while the lawyers are the ones in the courtroom trying to fight and make arguments, it’s ultimately society and the people that are paying the consequences for these bail laws,” said ADA, Mackenzie Ferguson.