Lentol honored for animal activism
by Lisa A. Fraser
Apr 25, 2012 | 791 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Assemblyman Joseph Lentol received The Humane Legislator of the Year award in recognition for introducing bills last year aimed at increasing penalties for spectators whose admission fees and gambling dollars fuel animal fighting operations.

The Assemblyman received the award last week during the 2012 New York State Humane Lobby Day.

Signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo last session, Lentol’s push was the first major upgrade in New York’s animal fighting laws in nearly 30 years.

“Last year’s animal fighting law was a great accomplishment for New York citizens and the animals who suffer badly in these cruel fights,” said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Lentol was thankful for the recognition. “I am deeply humbled," he said.

The assemblyman wasted no time after receiving his recognition. That same morning he held a round table discussion with many of the interested parties.

Joining with members of the legislature, members of the rescue and shelter organization community, and others, they attempted to negotiate on access legislation for rescue groups.

“There is no doubt we all have the interest of the animals at heart,” he said, noting that he called for the roundtable discussion because of the varying ideas and opinions on how to achieve that goal. “We all anticipate moving New York towards no kill shelters,”

New York continues to rank high in The HSUS’ national survey of animal protection laws, coming in 10th out of all states and the District of Columbia in 2011.

Although the state strengthened its animal fighting law last year, it scored slightly lower from its 2010 ranking because the state has fallen behind on issues relating to wildlife and farm animal protection.

During the 2012 New York State Humane Lobby Day, more than 100 citizens from across New York met with lawmakers at the Capitol and urged them to pass legislation to protect animals.

Many particularly pressed for laws to strengthen the state’s animal fighting law, protect sharks from the cruel shark fin trade, ban canned shooting of captive exotic animals, protect farm animals from cruel confinement, and oppose the agribusiness-backed “Ag-Gag” bill, which would stifle whistle-blowing on factory farms.

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