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A bill is moving in the New York Senate that would make it a crime to steal a pet from an owner’s or lawful custodian’s private property. 

New York residents are encouraged to contact their State Senator and ask them to support Senate Bill 423.  The bill has passed Senate committees and is pending a vote by the full Senate.  Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find the name and contact information for your State Senator.  A full Senate roster can be found here.


Current New York law declares that theft of certain property is grand larceny in the fourth degree.  Senate Bill 423 expands this to include a dog or cat taken from a dwelling, enclosure, or yard on the property of the owner or someone who is a lawful custodian harboring the dog (meaning someone who is legally providing the dog with food and shelter).

Clearly defining pets as property ensures that responsible dog owners and breeders in New York who are victims of pet theft at their residence or private property are entitled to the same protections and compensations as other property owners whose property is stolen. This clarification also ensures that criminals who steal pets can be held accountable for their crime.

AKC GR will continue to monitor this legislation and provide updates as they are available.  For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or