Hochul signs new legislation aimed at cutting down on animal abuse

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul signed new legislation aimed at protecting animals from abuse and preventing insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners based on the breed of the dog they own.

"I think it’s a huge step forward for protection of society in general, because people who are abusing animals also abuse people," said Humane Society of Greater Rochester Chief humane Law Enforcement Officer Reno DiDomenico.

He hopes more veterinarians will make the confidential call to his office to report suspected abuse cases, now that they’re required to do so by law.

"Most veterinarians would, on a serious case, would tip us off that there was an issue with an animal. It’s those questionable cases, where they suspect something but they can’t necessarily prove it, that we didn’t get the call," DiDomenico said. "It very might well be the persons innocent. But it gives us that same line of investigation, power that you would have when a child being suspected of abuse."

The new law also prohibits insurance companies from refusing to issue, renew, cancel, or charge an increased premium for homeowners based solely on the breed of dog they own.

DiDomenico hopes this law prevents homeowners from having to give their dog up for adoption and allows families to welcome any dog of their choice into their home.

"They’re not turning away that pit bull, they’re not turning away the German shepherd when they go to a shelter, or rescue group and say well I can’t have that because my insurance company won’t allow it," DiDomenico said.

If you suspect animal abuse you can contact the Humane Society’s animal cruelty hotline at 585-223-6500.