New York Consolidated Laws, Education Law–EDN § 809. Instruction in the humane treatment of animals
“The officer, board or commission authorized or required to prescribe courses of instruction shall cause instruction to be given in every elementary school under state control or supported wholly or partly by public money of the state, in the humane treatment and protection of animals and the importance of the part they play in the economy of nature as well as the necessity of controlling the proliferation of animals which are subsequently abandoned and caused to suffer extreme cruelty. Such instruction shall be for such period of time during each school year as the board of regents may prescribe and may be joined with work in literature, reading, language, nature study or ethnology. Such weekly instruction may be divided into two or more periods. A school district shall not be entitled to participate in the public school money on account of any school or the attendance at any school subject to the provisions of this section, if the instruction required hereby is not given therein.” (Source)
Section 801-A. Instruction in civility, citizenship and character education
“The regents shall ensure that the course of instruction in grades kindergarten through twelve includes a component on civility, citizenship and character education. Such component shall instruct students on the principles of honesty, tolerance, personal responsibility, respect for others, with an emphasis on discouraging acts of harassment, bullying, discrimination, observance of laws and rules, courtesy, dignity and other traits which will enhance the quality of their experiences in, and contributions to, the community. Such component shall include instruction of safe, responsible use of the internet and electronic communications. The regents shall determine how to incorporate such component in existing curricula and the commissioner shall promulgate any regulations needed to carry out such determination of the regents. For the purposes of this section, “tolerance,” “respect for others” and “dignity” shall include awareness and sensitivity to harassment, bullying, discrimination and civility in the relations of people of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, genders, and sexes.” (Source)
Reported Animal Abuse Cases
Syracuse.com reported that three Syracuse teenagers had been arrested in relation to the abduction of mother swan Faye and her four cygnets from the Manlius Swan Pond. Faye was allegedly killed and then reportedly eaten on Memorial Day by one of the teen’s families, and her mate, Manny, has since been seen swimming alone in the pond.
In December 2023, localsyr.com reported that the 18-year-old suspect pled guilty to the animal cruelty charge. The additional teens’ cases are being handled by family court due to their ages.
WIVB.com reported that a teen allegedly attempted to drown a family member’s terrier-mix dog, Sprocket, in the bathtub of a home in Cheektowaga. Sprocket required emergency veterinary treatment as a result of the alleged incident, and the teen was reportedly charged with aggravated cruelty to animals. He was also charged for other incidents in which he allegedly harmed animals.
In November 2023, WIVB.com reported that the teen pled guilty to the animal cruelty charge.
CBS6Albany.com reported that a teenager was arrested after allegedly leaving two cats in a locked car for several days in frigid temperatures. The cats were apparently found dehydrated, malnourished, and covered with their own feces and urine.
PressRepublican.com reported that an 18-year-old was charged with cruelty to animals after he allegedly hurled a cat against a wall, as was apparently captured in a video reportedly posted to social media.
NYPost.com reported that Payton Gendron—the 18-year-old accused of shooting and killing 10 people in a racially motivated attack in Buffalo, New York, on May 14—had allegedly written about chasing and stabbing a stray cat for an hour and a half, grabbing him by the tail and smashing his head into the concrete floor, and slashing at his neck repeatedly until he was completely beheaded.
Syracuse.com reported that two Auburn boys were investigated after a cell phone video allegedly showing the torture of at least two kittens was posted on social media.
silive.com reported that an Oakwood teen posted a Snapchat video of himself shoving a cat into a toilet, closing the lid, and then flushing the toilet. The teen faces charges for torturing an animal.
People.com reported that Bronx residents witnessed a group of teenagers reportedly force a firecracker into a cat’s mouth and light it. The cat, now named George, wasn’t found until two days after the reported incident. Despite extensive injuries, he was expected to make a full recovery.
NNY360.com reported that 20 students had broken into Massena Central High School and vandalized it. They also reportedly threw a large bass into a tank with tropical fish, most of whom were eaten by the bass, and a chicken was left with a severed foot. The school district announced that any student identified as having participated in this incident had been disciplined. The investigation remained ongoing for the school district and the police.
DemocratAndChronicle.com reported that a 16-year-old boy had been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly killing a goose by throwing a knife at the animal.
Syracuse.com reported that a group of teenagers was suspected of beating numerous porcupines to death. Unfortunately, conservation laws dictate that it’s not illegal to kill porcupines, because they’re considered “nuisance wildlife.” Therefore, no charges were brought.
13WHAM.com reported that a 14-year-old boy had allegedly broken into his neighbor’s home and killed four of her animal companions—shooting one bird and a bearded dragon with a BB gun and crushing two other birds to death with his hands. The boy was reportedly under investigation for the abuse of animals in his own home as well.
BuffaloNews.com reported that four teenagers were suspected of torturing and killing a large snapping turtle at a party, using a pitchfork and a baseball bat and then throwing the animal into a fire. Someone allegedly took a video of the attack and posted it on Facebook. The teenagers were expected to face charges.
NYDailyNews.com reported that a 12-year-old girl had been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly killing a 3-month-old kitten by throwing him in front of a moving vehicle and then boasting that she would do it again if given the chance. The cat, named Little Man, was the animal companion of a local family.