New York Penal Law § 242.05: Interference, harassment or intimidation of a service animal

A service animal is an animal that has been specially trained to assist someone who suffers from a disability. While the most common type of service animal is the service dog, other types of service animals include miniature horses and ferrets. Because service animals perform vital jobs for people with disabilities, there are specific laws created to punish those who injure service animals. Under New York Penal Law § 242.05 you could be prosecuted for interference, harassment or intimidation of a service animal if you intentionally do something that makes it impractical, dangerous or impossible for a service animal to perform its assigned responsibilities of assisting a person with a disability. A service animal is defined in New York Penal Law § 242.00(1) as an animal that has been specially trained or is in the process of being trained by a qualified person to aid or guide someone who has a disability.

Example

Rob stole Sarah's dog. Sarah is visually impaired and her dog was trained to be her guide. Rob could be prosecuted for interference, harassment or intimidation of a service animal in violation of New York Penal Law § 242.05 if the dog has been specially trained to aid or guide Sarah by a qualified person. By stealing the dog from Sarah, Rob made it impossible for the dog to provide the assistance to Sarah for which it was trained.

Related Offenses
  1. Harming a service animal in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 242.10
  2. Harming a service animal in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 242.15
Defenses

In order for you to be guilty of interference, harassment or intimidation of a service animal, whether it is a dog, horse, ferret or some other type of animal, the animal must be a service animal as defined by New York Penal Law § 242.00(1). If the animal has not been trained as a service animal, or if the training was not completed by a qualified person, then you would not be guilty of this crime.

Sentence

Interference, harassment or intimidation of a service animal is a class B misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a jail term of up to 90 days, a probation term of 1 year, payment of restitution, and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 242.05: Interference, harassment or intimidation of a service animal

A person is guilty of interference, harassment or intimidation of a service animal when he or she commits an act with intent to and which does make it impractical, dangerous or impossible for a service animal to perform its assigned responsibilities of assisting a person with a disability.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been arrested for interference, harassment or intimidation of a service animal, it is important that you immediately contact someone with experience. Even though this crime is a misdemeanor and not a felony, if you are convicted you could still end up in jail for 3 months and be required to pay a fine. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors in violation of New York state law and federal law. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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