New legislation aims to protect animals and owners starting Jan. 1

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ROCHESTER, N.Y (WHEC) — In just a couple of days, dog and animal lovers will be ringing in the new year with some new, pet-friendly legislation.

Two months ago, governor Hochul signed new laws that will help protect four-legged animals as well as their owners.

“Lollypop Farm has been involved in talking to our representatives and the governor about the importance of this bill all along,” said Adrienne McHargue, vice president and chief operating officer at Lollypop Farm.

Starting the first of the year, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against homeowners based on the breed of the dog they own.

“It will be a game-changer for pets in our community and for pet owners who no longer have to really choose between their pets and the place that they choose to live,” McHargue said.

McHargue says it’s a big sigh of relief for those with dogs such as Pit bulls and Rottweilers, which were widely considered to be top offenders by insurance companies.

“Many people, when they go to look for insurance for their own, they’ve already had these pets for a long time. They are members of the family. We don’t want to have anything that’s discriminatory that leaves that pet out of the family,” McHargue said.

The governor also signed legislation that protects animals from abuse. Under the new law, vets are required to report suspected animal cruelty.

“It is going to re-strengthen that relationship between the investigators and the medical community, and it really provides for open communication and ensuring that we can get all the evidence that we need to properly bring people to justice for what they’ve done,” McHargue said.

The animal shelter says it is excited for a fresh start into the New Year, for dogs and owners alike.

“It’s really encouraging to see such important and strong legislation be passed, and in New York State we have a lot of work to do to bring our animal cruelty standards up to the way people want to see their pets cared for, so for Hochul to sign these bills is incredibly important,” McHargue said.

The legislation that takes effect on Jan. 1 helps homeowners with their insurance. McHargue said there is similar legislation being considered for those with renters insurance, as well.