Assemblymembers Matthew Titone (D-North Shore) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore) met today in Albany with animal supporters for New York State Animal Advocacy Day. The Staten Island Assemblymembers sponsored the program with Assemblymember Jim Tedisco, State Senator Greg Ball and other state lawmakers to discuss measures to strengthen our state’s animal protection laws.
Participants met in the Legislative Office Building and were able to present advocacy information, network with the elected officials and listen to speakers on various topics. Following the program, the advocates lobbied other elected officials.
“Since childhood, I have always had animals in my life, dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles, horses, you name it. My parents never knew what I would bring home next. Because of this, I have developed a great respect and affection for animals and have always felt that my house is not a home without a pet. As a strong supporter of animal rights, I have met with leaders of various Staten Island animal advocacy groups on a variety of issues, including the puppy mill legislation that I sponsored. I was excited to be able to be able to have similar discussions with groups from around the state today and hear new ideas and perspectives” said Titone. Titone’s puppy mill legislation, which was developed in consultation with the New York State Veterinary Medical Society and is co-sponsored by Assemblymember Malliotakis requires licensing for breeders and sets standards of health and humane care.
In addition to this legislation, Titone helped his predecessor, John Lavelle, fund and create the dog run at Silver Lake Park and has made efforts to ensure its maintenance. In an effort to raise awareness of animal abuse and the benefits of pet ownership, Titone sponsored a resolution declaring the week of May 5th to be Pet Week in New York State.
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotokis commented on the opportunity that Animal Advocacy Day presents, stating “As an avid animal-lover and owner of three dogs, animal rights is a subject near and dear to my heart. While many turn their heads because they cannot bear to see or hear about the suffering these poor animals go though, Animal Advocacy Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of animal abuse and neglect, and encourage those seeking pets to adopt from their local animal shelter. Staten island is fortunate to have wonderful organizations such as 'Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare,' 'No More Tears Rescue' and 'P.L.U.T.O.' that dedicate themselves to finding loving homes for abused and neglected animals and on Animal Advocacy Day, I commend and thank them for the wonderful work that they do"
Dr. John San Giorgio, who operates the Veterinary Emergency Center on Staten Island and serves as an executive board member and former president of the Veterinary Medical Association of the City of New York echoed this sentiment, stating "Animal advocacy day is an opportunity to truly give a voice to the voiceless. Animals have a special place in our lives, whether they are visiting at a nursing home, providing us with entertainment, helping us exercise or teaching children responsibility. The value that they have in our lives is immeasurable. The people who operate rescues and those who are out there pushing for legislation to protect our animals deserve a pat on the back."
Assemblymembers Titone and Malliotakis have each also co-sponsored numerous pieces of animal protection legislation including bills to prevent animal fighting, to increase penalties for animal cruelty, to expand the definition of animal cruelty to include wildlife and to require the release of a shelter animal to a rescue group upon request of the rescue group prior to euthanasia of the animal.