Efforts continue to pass Phoenix’s Law

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The law that would increase jail time for anyone charged with felony animal cruelty, continues to be pushed for.

It’s called “Phoenix’s Law,” named after Phoenix, the Jack Russel Terrier who was just 3-months-old when he was set on fire last October.

Fortunately, he continues on the road to recovery, but the horrifying crime shocked the city. Now lawmakers want to make sure people who hurt animals don’t get off easy.

“Its despicable and those people need to be dealt with accordingly,” said State Senator Mark Grisanti.

According to Senator Grisanti and the Erie County SPCA, people who intentionally injure or kill animals should face longer prison sentences.

April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month  and they’re both continuing to push for a bill called “Phoenix’s Law” that would double the amount of jail time for anyone charged with felony animal cruelty.

The legislation also requires a suspect to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Executive Director of the Erie County SPCA, Barbara Carr said the current punishment is two years in jail and a $5,000 fine. She said, “it’s just not enough.”

“Some of the laws that we have in New York State are outdated and when you look at them, the punishment needs to be more severe because of the crime and the way it happens,” Senator Grisanti said.

Disturbing animal cruelty cases shocked Western New Yorkers recently. Two teens were charged with setting Phoenix the puppy on fire but fortunately for his case, he survived the horrific attack.

A more recent discovery in Niagara Falls outraged the community where an 8-week-old pit bull was found injured and dehydrated behind a garbage can. Some of his teeth were knocked out and his jaw was broken.

Senator Grisanti and Erie County SPCA Executive Director, Barbara Carr both say studies show people who injure animals, might injure or kill people one day.

“When you’ve got someone who will intentionally harm an animal that’s a serious concern to any community,” said Carr.

Senator Grisanti says the proposed legislation will not only protect animals but it will also keep the community safe.

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