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The legal system so often fails animals that it’s great to be able to celebrate victories when they come along. Animal abuse is a heinous crime, and when prosecutors are able to bring justice against these criminals, that in itself is a victory. Now, New York City is taking animal welfare one step further by solidifying a city-wide animal abuser registry.

Late last year, New York City Council approved the registry, however it was soon after vetoed by Mayor Bloomberg. Yet, now, according to Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), “The New York City Council voted unanimously to override former Mayor Bloomberg’s veto and create a city-wide animal abuser registry across the five boroughs.”


So, what will the registry accomplish? It will “compile the names of convicted animal abusers and prohibit them from having any contact with animals for a minimum of five years. Shelters, Pet Stores and other entities in NYC also will be required to consult the registry before adopting out or selling an animal to anyone, and forbidden from transferring an animal to anyone on the list.”

NYC is the largest jurisdiction to implement such a registry, says the ALDF. Thankfully, it’s not the only one who’s keen on the idea. Michigan and Illinois are also on track to create animal abuser registries.

In Michigan’s version, “People convicted of animal-abuse crimes would be placed into the Internet Criminal History Access Tool database — a system set up by the Michigan State Police to allow the public to search for criminal offenders.”

Lawmakers in Illinois plan to be the first to take part in ALDF’s national Do Not Adopt Registry. This registry would “compile animal abuse conviction data into one, uniform database and make it accessible across state lines…provide shelters, rescues, pet stores and individuals all over the country with one site to better screen potential adopters and customers to ensure they have not been convicted of animal abuse crimes, such as dog fighting or hoarding.”

These two issues, dog fighting and hoarding, are two major reasons behind the implementation of animal abuser registries across the United States.

The ALDF says, “Up until now there has been no official mechanism to prevent someone convicted of animal abuse from simply walking into a shelter or going on Craigslist and acquiring a new animal to abuse.”

We’re happy to see different states and cities taking the initiative to stop the cycle of animal abuse, and hope to see Michigan’s legislation reach fruition.

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