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NY Penal Law § 242.10: Harming a service animal in the second degree

Service animals are animals that have been specially trained to assist or guide people who have disabilities. 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 provide vital assistance to those with disabilities there are specific laws created to punish those who injure service animals. Under New York Penal Law § 242.10 you could be charged with harming a service dog in the second degree if you intentionally physically injure or kill a service animal. A service animal is defined 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.


Harold and Martin noticed and older gentleman, Leon, walking down the street accompanied by a guide dog. Being bored, they decided to throw stones at the man and at the dog. Then they approached the man, pushed him around repeatedly kicked the dog. The dog's injuries were so severe that he died. Both Harold and Martin could be prosecuted for harming a service dog in the second degree under New York Penal Law § 242.10.

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

In order for you to be guilty of harming a service animal, the dog, horse or other animal that you are accused of injuring must be a service animal as defined by New York Penal Law § 242.00(1). If the animal was not trained as a service animal, or if the training was not completed by a qualified person, then you would not be guilty of harming a service animal.


Harming a service animal in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a jail term of up to 1 year, a probation term of 3 years, payment of restitution, and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 242.10: Harming a service animal in the second degree

A person is guilty of harming a service animal in the second degree when, with the intent to do so, he or she causes physical injury, or causes such injury that results in the death, of a service animal.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been charged with harming a service animal in the second degree it is important that you immediately contact someone with experience. Even though harming a service animal in the second degree is a misdemeanor and not a felony, if you are convicted you could still end up in jail 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 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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