POV: Law will help keep animals safe

As an animal rights activist, vegan and writer about both of these issues, I was thrilled to hear that “Local Law K,” an Animal Abuse Registry for convicted offenders, passed in the Albany County Legislature. This makes Albany County the second county in New York State to have such a registry. The first registry of this kind in New York State, and the Nation, was made into law in Suffolk County last year.

The new Albany County law will require any persons that have been convicted of animal cruelty in Albany County, to disclose their name, current address and a photograph to the Sheriff’s Department. They would also have to pay an annual fee of $50 and be on the list for 10 years, although a second offense would have them remain on the registry for life. If they fail to make these requirements they are also subject to fines. Then the database comes in, which will be maintained by the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, in which any pet store, breeder, animal shelter or rescue group would be able to access before handing over an animal to that person. If they are on the list, no risk to that desired animal.

And I applaud Albany County for stepping up, setting aside party lines in an effort to continue and hopefully set an example for other counties. Will other counties pick up bills similar to this one? What if the offender decides to move out of the county and start up a dog-fighting ring, abuse another animal, or create another hoarding situation?

As with many animal laws, they are baby steps to a bigger, more encompassing law. I would like to urge the New York State legislature to pass a state-wide law ensuring the fact that there is a database available in every pet store, breeder facility, rescue organization and shelter preventing those that abuse, torture and intentionally neglect animals from ever owning an animal again.

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