Christmas has come early for pets in New York City, as a new animal abuser registry has been unanimously approved, making Santa’s naughty list available to animal shelters and pet stores.
The legislation was proposed by Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr. and was supported by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). The horrendous event that spurred this legislation happened two years ago when an Astoria bodybuilder murdered his Chinese Shar-Pei, Brooklyn, by throwing him out his apartment’s third-story window.
The new electronic animal abuser registry would require any convicted animal abuser, whether convicted of physical abuse, abandonment, or animal fighting, to be registered on the list. This list, which will be available to law enforcement, pet shops, animal shelters, and vets, will prevent anyone who has been convicted of animal abuse from buying or adopting another animal. First time offenders will stay on the list for five years, and if abusers are caught with an animal again, they can be prosecuted with up to one year in jail and slapped with a $1,000 fine.
We already have a system like this in place for sex offenders, so it’s only logical that we make a list for those that abuse animals as well. By implementing a registry of this kind, it will not magically make all animal abuse disappear, but it will certainly help keep animals out of the wrong hands.
Council Member Vallone said in the Sunnyside Post, “This is a Christmas present not only to New York City animals, but animals in all of the areas that will now move forward with similar registries.”
His Christmas present might just help other areas adopt registries as well, including the state of Connecticut, where legislators are looking to revive efforts to institute an animal abuser registry at a state level. The biggest hurdle for Connecticut and other states trying to introduce registries is the added expense in an already difficult economy. Even though Connecticut has only convicted 594 people of animal abuse form 2002 to 2012, state legislatures have been trying to enact a registry since 2011.
On a larger scale, the ALDF has been actively working to implement a national registry of animal abusers. Director of Legislative Affairs for ALDF, Chris Green said, “The purpose is to prevent abusers from acquiring more animals. That’s the fundamental goal, rather than creating a gallery of people. We’re putting the focus back on animal welfare.”
And indeed that’s where the focus should be since so many animals may suffer abuse and cruelty, yet cannot tell anyone. This is why we must be their voice, and help prevent animal cruelty in any way we can. So thank you, NYC, for implementing your animal abuser registry!
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons