From The Dog Lady’s mailbag: The Animal Legal Defense Fund reports [t]his week a man infamously charged with cruelly killing his own dog was just arrested for living with another dog. He is the first person to be charged with failing to register with the Nassau County Animal Abuse registry.
Michael Gallagher killed Bella, his Shepherd mix, in 2016 by tightening a zip tie around her neck, stuffing her in a garbage bag, and beating her with a metal shovel. Due to the extent of her injuries, Bella had to be euthanized. He served only four months in jail.
The egregiousness of the crime led Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal to introduce Bella’s Bill, which would overhaul NY’s animal cruelty laws (which currently rank as some of the worst in the nation).
Bella’s Bill was drafted by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and would ensure:
· Training on animal cruelty laws would be part of the police academy.
· Offenders would be required to serve time in state prison instead of county jail.
· All the key players in the criminal justice system – including judges and criminal defense attorneys – would be familiar with animal cruelty laws and understand these are serious offenses.
· Judges would be allowed to order mental health counseling for certain offenders whose crimes seem to have an underlying mental health element. (This one being especially important considering the high rates of recidivism in animal cruelty cases).
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!