Remember in November: Who Helped, Who Hurt the Proposed NYS Devocalization Ban
Devocalization didn't keep these animals--or countless others--out of shelters. The ban would have spared dogs and cats the pain and risks of this unnecessary surgery.
Bravo for grassroots animal advocacy. Thanks to your calls, the NYS Assembly passed the devocalization ban by a whopping 138-4 and sent it to the Senate.
Unfortunately, the Senate didn't even give it a vote before the legislative session ended for the year on June 21. It died in committee.
Lawmakers say they were lobbied heavily to kill the bill by special interests that profit from devocalization. That's quite a dilemma in an election year: The public overwhelmingly considers devocalization--cutting vocal cords just to stifle a dog's or cat's voice--an act of extreme cruelty.
Because the ban did not go to the floor, those Senators aligned with pro-devocalization lobbies were able to kill the bill without having to vote against it ... and face the ire of constituents who care about animals.
WHO WOULD LOBBY AGAINST BANNING THIS CRUELTY??
The state veterinary association: Though many concerned vets endorsed the ban, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) fought it. Obviously, some vets profit from this cruel, unnecessary surgery. Some just don’t want to be told they can’t. Still others are afraid banning devocalization would be a “slippery slope” leading to prohibition of other mutilating surgeries, such as declawing.
The dog breeding lobby: Some "hobbyist" and commercial breeders have animals devocalized when they—or neighbors—don’t want to hear them or to keep them quiet in the show ring. Some breeding facilities sell devocalized dogs to biotech labs so researchers won’t be bothered by the howls and cries of the frightened, distressed animals they test on.
REMEMBER THESE LAWMAKERS ON ELECTION DAY
You’ve used your voice. Now use your vote. Read on to learn which lawmakers advocated for the devocalization ban, who blocked it. Those who did nothing contributed to its failure.
Some lawmakers promised you their “full support.” That is a meaningless gesture if a bill doesn't go to the floor for a vote. We needed help getting the devocalization ban there. Only a few Senators provided it.
Remember them all on Election Day.
This is nonpartisan! Preventing cruelty to animals is not a core issue of either the Democrats or Republicans. It is a choice made by each individual lawmaker. Hold yours accountable.
WHO HELPED THE BILL? If you're a constituent of any of the following, please call to say thanks for actively supporting the ban. Even if your Assemblymember isn't listed below, thank him or her for voting for it; lawmakers need to be reminded that this issue matters deeply to you.
Assembly Heroes:Ken Zebrowski (D) introduced and guided Assembly Bill A3431D through that house. Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Sheldon Silver, Agriculture Committee Chair William Magee and Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol, all Democrats, it passed nearly unanimously.
These lawmakers argued for the bill on the Assembly floor:
- Republicans Steve Katz (a veterinarian), David McDonough and AndrewRaia - Democrats Ken Zebrowski, Joseph Lentol and Linda Rosenthal
Senate Heroes:Mark Grisanti (R), Tony Avella (D) and Tim Kennedy (D) were the only members of the NYS Senate who actively advocated for Senate Bill S6167C, with letters to their colleagues and appeals to the Majority Leader to bring it to the floor.
WHO HURT THE BILL? If you're a constituent of any of the following, politely say you expected better from him/her. Your vote matters to your Senator. Your voice should have. Even if your Senator isn't listed below, call to express your disappointment that this important humane legislation was denied a vote.
Assembly Opponents: Republicans William Barclay, Clifford Crouch, Brian Kolb and Bob Oaks cast the four votes against A3431D.
Senate Opponents: Who killed the Senate bill? That depends on who you ask.
A member of Majority Leader Dean Skelos' staff blamed Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie (R) for not releasing the bill.
Callers to Sen. Ritchie's office say her aides blamed Lee Zeldin (R) for not advocating for the bill, which he introduced.
And Sen. Zeldin's office told advocates to take it up with Majority LeaderSkelos (R). Here’s what we do know: Sen. Ritchie held the bill in her committee for an incredible five months without a vote. It wasn't released to the Senate Rules Committee until the week before the session ended. Majority Leader Skelos, who chairs the Rules Committee, didn’t release it to the floor.
WHO REPRESENTS YOU IN THE NYS LEGISLATURE? - Who's Your Assemblymember? Click here - Just Need His/Her Phone Number? Click here - Who's Your Senator OR Just Need His/Her Phone Number? Click here
ONE LAST WORD: WHY CALLS TRUMP EMAILS
Want to be heard? Pick up the phone! It’s quicker and far more effective than writing an email that few aides will tally, even fewer will read--and some will misconstrue. Calls can't be ignored. Emails are easy to dismiss and delete. It happens all the time.
A recent example: A Senator’s office sent the following response to an advocate on June 25, four days after the session ended and the bill had died.
"Thank you for taking the time to contact my office with respect to bill S6167C. I truly appreciate the time you have taken to express your concerns.... Rest assured that I will keep them in mind when this matter comes before the Senate."