MAYVILLE, N.Y.: -- A proposed local law authorizing
the creation of an animal abuse registry is set to be discussed at the Chautauqua
County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee meeting next week.
The local law would create an online registry to identify any Chautauqua County resident who has been convicted of animal abuse crimes. Such crimes mentioned in the legislation include abandoning, injuring, overdriving, or torturing animals; failing to provide proper sustenance; poisoning or attempting to poison animals; harming service animals; and injuring or killing a police animal.
This law would prevent animal abuse offenders from adopting, purchasing or obtaining animals from any animal shelter or pet seller. It also requires animal shelters and pet sellers to examine the Animal Abuser Registry to confirm that the name of the potential owner is not listed.
“This law will put convicted animal abusers on a public list similar to
sex offenders,” said Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello. “People have
the right to know if someone who has a record of abusing animals is living in
their neighborhood. Through this registry they can be aware of these
individuals and take measures to protect their pets and their family. Nikolas
Cruz, the Florida school shooter, had a record of bragging about torturing
animals on social media. Anyone who can intentionally abuse an animal likely
suffers from mental illness or just has evil in their heart and is capable of
far worse. It’s my hope that by implementing this law we will also deter people
from intentionally causing harm to an animal because the consequences will be
something that will follow them for life.”
Under the proposed
law, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office would be responsible for
establishing and maintaining the Chautauqua County Animal Abuser Registry. This
registry, which would be available on the Sheriff’s website, would provide a
name, address, and photo for each animal abuse offender. The offender would be
listed on this registry for a period of 15 years.
abuse is an unfortunate reality in our society and we must take steps to help eliminate
it,” said Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace. “I became aware of similar legislation that
was passed in several other New York Counties and believe it would be
beneficial in Chautauqua County as well. This new law would help ensure that those
who are convicted of animal abuse will no longer be able to own and potentially
abuse animals. Animals are unable to defend themselves and the passage of the
animal abuse registry act will help prevent further acts of cruelty.”
The proposed law also sets the following penalties for violators:
· An animal abuse offender who fails to register will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration for a period of not more than one year and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000;
· An animal abuse offender who violates the prohibition against possessing, owning, adopting or purchasing an animal will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration for a period of not more than one year and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000; and
· An animal shelter or pet seller who does not examine the Chautauqua County Animal Abuser Registry to confirm the potential owner is not listed on it before the transfer of an animal, shall be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of $5,000.
If the local law is approved by the Public Safety Committee on March 21, 2018, it will be subject to the approval of the full Chautauqua County Legislature during its meeting on March 28. If approved, the Local Law Authorizing the Creation of An Animal Abuse Registry would go into effect upon filing it with the Secretary of State.