Proposed legislation in California would give cats and dogs their own “bill of rights,” and some animal activists think the same should be done in New York.
David Seely, executive director of Litter Shelter, says he supports the idea of giving pets more protection.
The bill introduced in California, called the “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights,” would give pets freedom from neglect and abuse, the right to health care, nutritious food and appropriate exercise among other things.
“It’s always helpful when those things happen in California, and the rest of the country usually follows and looks at it as an example,” Seely says.
Gary Rodgers, with the Nassau SPCA, says all animals in New York state are considered property and that issue needs to be addressed.Abuse is not a crime under the penal law.
Instead, it’s a violation of the agricultural and markets law. That makes it harder to hold humans who hurt animals accountable.
“We need better laws in New York and I don’t know if giving them the same rights as humans would fly right now in New York but we need to enforce and have better laws to work with,” Rodgers say.
Rodgers says they should enhance the law and not make them property.
“They’re not humans,” Rodgers say. “But if you have pets at home, they’re humans, they’re like our children and family.”