Pardalis & Nohavicka Pet Law Update: Brutal Killing of Pet Bird Puts Boyfriend Behind Bars
Pirates of yore delighted in the company of pet parrots. Egyptian hieroglyphics depict what appear to be the first pet birds. Ancient Greek households included birds, and Romans used mockingbirds in the entryways of their homes to announce visitors. Today, birds are members of thousands of families.
NY’s Agriculture and Markets Law § 353-a (1), "Aggravated cruelty to animals," represents our Legislature's recognition that man's inhumanity to man often begins with inhumanity to those creatures that have formed particularly close relationships with mankind by making the violation of that law a felony.
Eric Jones was unkind to his domestic partner. And he was cruel to her pet parakeets. During a fit of rage-fueled destruction of the home, Eric grabbed the bird and crushed it flat between the bars of its cage. (He had killed the other bird on a prior occasion). Eric was convicted of criminal mischief in the third degree, aggravated cruelty to animals, aggravated harassment in the second degree, and torturing and injuring animals. Eric was sentenced to concurrent terms of 20 to 40 months on the criminal mischief conviction, and one year on each of the remaining convictions.
Eric challenged the sufficiency and weight of the evidence supporting his aggravated cruelty to animals and criminal mischief convictions. The appeals court noted that the egregious manner in which Eric killed his former domestic partner's pet parakeet, along with the surrounding circumstances, established that he intended to cause the bird extreme physical pain.
Eric contended that the evidence did not suggest that the brutal killing of the bird at issue caused a death that was so instantaneous that it would not be extremely painful. Eric argued that this was an "ordinary killing" of an animal that should be punished as a misdemeanor offense of overdriving, torturing, and injuring animals (Agriculture and Markets Law § 353), the crime Eric was convicted of for killing his partner's other pet parakeet. The appeals court did not buy that and characterized the killing as “extremely heinous. CONVICTION AND SENTENCE AFFIRMED
Here is the case: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/