From the Daily News:
State lawmakers want to make it a felony punishable by up to four years in prison to steal a family dog or cat.
"Pets are family members, and we want to make sure they are protected like anybody else," said state Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Nassau), who sponsored the measure.
Marcellino said the bill - which easily passed in the Senate Wednesday - is a response to a spate of dognappings on Long Island.
The family pets, he said, are sometimes taken by the operators of dogfighting rings to be used as "bait" in the training of fighting dogs.
It's currently a misdemeanor to steal family pets.