Urgent Signatures Needed To Support “Bella’s Bill” Which Would Toughen New York’s Animal Cruelty Laws

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Photo From Animal Legal Defense Fund

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

In 2016, Gallagher decided to horrifically strangle, beat, and torture his dog. 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 was shockingly only four months in jail, followed by five years of probation and a 20-year ban on owning any other animals.

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 a part of the penal code. Instead, these crimes fall under the Agriculture and Markets section of state law. How is that possible?

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 the shovel that he actually killed Bella with. Horrendous!

To update these antiquated laws, New York State Senator Andrew Lanza has introduced “Bella’s Bill” (Senate Bill S8724), named in memory of Bella who had to endure so much pain before her life ended. If passed, the bill 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.

Sign your name to this open letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to strengthen New York’s cruelty laws so that they reflect the values of the majority of New York residents who care deeply about animals. SIGN HERE!

You can also sign this Care2 petition telling NY state legislators to support Bella’s Bill and the rest of the abused animals that deserve justice. SIGN HERE!

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