January 2014           News | Upcoming Programs & CLE | Reports | Get Involved


The Paw Project Panel Examining the Practice of Cat Declawing
Thursday, January 30
6:30 – 8:30 PM
After screening the documentary, The Paw Project, a panel will discuss the legal and ethical issues that surround the controversial practice.


Animal Law Lobbying 101:
Examining Animal Advocacy on the Local, State and Federal Level

February 6
6:30 - 8:30 PM

With hundreds of bills impacting the treatment of animals being introduced in local, state and federal legislatures annually, lobbying is increasingly used by both animal protection organizations and animal industries. A panel will discuss animal law lobbying issues and strategies for organizations, industries and individuals.

Missed a Program? You Can Still Benefit! CLE Programs' CDs, DVDs and other course
materials can be found on the website.


New Law to Strengthen Oversight of Pet Dealers in New York
New York State has enacted a new law aimed at protecting animals by authorizing local municipalities to adopt more stringent laws to regulate pet dealers. The bill, which is also known as the “Puppy Mill Bill” because of its intent to crack down on that industry, was supported by the City Bar’s Animal Law Committee. Under the bill, municipalities will be authorized to enact local laws, ordinances, and regulations governing pet dealers and concerning public health, safety, and consumer protection relating to the sale of dogs and cats by pet dealers, so long as the local laws, ordinances, and regulations are consistent with or more stringent than the provisions of Article 26-A of the Agriculture and Markets Law and Article 35-D of the General Business Law. The bill was signed by the Governor on January 9th and went into effect immediately.

Animal Welfare Act/Captive Bears
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Animal Law Committee urged that amendments be made to the federal Animal Welfare Act that would promulgate standards for captive bears. Specifically, the letter calls for amendments to the Animal Welfare Act that would: 1) prohibit the keeping of bears in pits or similar sensory-depriving conditions as a primary enclosure; 2) include environmental enrichment requirements that provide for means of expressing typical behavior including hibernating where appropriate, foraging, running, climbing, digging and nest building; 3) include den and pool requirements in accordance with currently accepted professional standards; and 4) include specific minimum space requirements for primary enclosures.

Use of Antibiotics in Farm Animals
The Committee on Animal Law expressed support for S.1256/H.R.1150, which would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the use of antibiotics in ways that accelerate the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The proposed legislation would provide the necessary regulation by generally phasing out the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal agriculture and providing appropriate safeguards to ensure that continued usage of such drugs is based on a reasoned health risk analysis. This legislation, the report argues, is necessary to address the widespread overuse and misuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture in order to preserve the efficacy of vital antibiotics in treating serious diseases in humans.

Use of Animals in Traveling Circuses and Shows
The Committee on Animal Law expressed support for A.5407/S.5971, which would amend New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law to restrict traveling circuses or shows from allowing the participation of an exotic or wild animal in an animal act if during the thirty day period preceding such participation the animal was traveling in a mobile housing facility. Current law, the report notes, does not effectively protect circus animals who perform in New York from harmful conditions inherent in circuses involving animal shows or from abuse and mistreatment, and the proposed legislation would be an important step in protecting the rights of these animals.

Prosecuting Animal Fighting
The industry of animal fighting is a national problem. In recent years, the laws penalizing animal fighting have been strengthened and efforts have been made to more strictly enforce them. In response to these changes, the Committee on Animal Law has updated its manual, Prosecuting Animal Fighting and Live Animal Cruelty Depictions: Legal Issues Under New York and Federal Law. The manual provides general information and guidance for the use by persons and agencies with responsibilities regarding animal fighting and animal cruelty in New York.

Animal Welfare in New York City
The Committee on Animal Law sent a letter to incoming New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offering its views regarding important policy decisions facing the incoming administration that will have a substantial effect on the lives of New York City's residents and animals. The letter addresses a few of the areas in which the City can have a significant impact on the welfare of animals including: 1) Horse Drawn Carriages; 2) Humane Law Enforcement; 3) Fire Safety and Sprinklers in NYC Pet Stores; 4) Wild Animals in Entertainment; 5) Sheltering of Domestic Violence Victims with Pets; 6) Spay and Neuter of NYC Dogs and Cats; 7) Humane Education in NYC Schools; and 8) Non-lethal Bird Hazard Control.

Committee Involvement--It's Never too Late
Committees are how the City Bar’s work gets done. Working on a committee can give you great experience while opening up a number of career doors, some you may not even anticipate.

A full list of the City Bar committees along with a brief description of each and an application form can be found on the City Bar’s website. As a number of City Bar committees have more applicants than available slots, please consider applying to more than one committee.

For more information about the Animal Law Committee and some of their previous publications, you can go to their committee page.

Legislative Affairs
Have an interest in or questions about the City Bar’s legislative work? Send an email to legislation@nycbar.org, visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Updates include recent City Bar reports, news and upcoming programs in a particular practice area and are issued periodically to City Bar members.