1. A person is guilty of
aggravated cruelty to animals when, with no justifiable purpose, he or
she intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury
to a companion animal with aggravated cruelty. For purposes of this
section, "aggravated cruelty" shall mean conduct which: (i) is intended
to cause extreme physical pain; or (ii) is done or carried out in an
especially depraved or sadistic manner.
2. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prohibit or
interfere in any way with anyone lawfully engaged in hunting, trapping,
or fishing, as provided in article eleven of the environmental
conservation law, the dispatch of rabid or diseased animals, as provided
in article twenty-one of the public health law, or the dispatch of
animals posing a threat to human safety or other animals, where such
action is otherwise legally authorized, or any properly conducted
scientific tests, experiments, or investigations involving the use of
living animals, performed or conducted in laboratories or institutions
approved for such purposes by the commissioner of health pursuant to
section three hundred fifty-three of this article.
3. Aggravated cruelty to animals is a felony. A defendant convicted of
this offense shall be sentenced pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision
one of section 55.10 of the penal law provided, however, that any term
of imprisonment imposed for violation of this section shall be a
definite sentence, which may not exceed two years.