Legislator proposes animal abuse registry

Albany County would be early adopter of new tool

— Albany County Legislator Bryan Clenehan, D-Albany, has drafted a local law that would create a database similar to a sex offender registry for those who have been convicted of abusing animals.

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, Clenehan introduced a new bill that would require any person within Albany County who is 16 years of age or older and has been convicted of an animal abuse crime to register with the Albany County Animal Abuse Registry. The person would have to do so within five days after their release from prison, or from the date of conviction.

Clenehan said after he saw an article discussing the effectiveness of Buster’s Law, New York’s animal abuse law, he said he wanted to create a law that carries harsher penalties for violators. Once he found a law in Suffolk County that allowed it to create its own registry — apparently the first in the nation — he knew what he could do.

Reader poll

Is an animal abuse registry necessary?

  • Yes. It will be a great tool in ending abuse. 80%
  • No. Our efforts should be focused elsewhere. 20%

15 total votes.

“It got me wondering if there was anything else the county could do, and then I saw the law in Suffolk County,” he said. “I researched into what they did and worked out an Albany County bill. We went a little bit further and made it tougher. So we will have the toughest animal cruelty law in the country.”

The proposed local law would require convicted animal abusers to be on the registry for 10 years. If the offender were convicted of another animal abuse crime after they have already been on the registry, they would be placed on it for life. Each person on the registry would pay an annual fee of $50 to the Albany County Sheriff’s Department. This money would go towards the maintenance of the registry.

Those who fail to register would then be charged with a misdemeanor that could result in incarceration for a year and/or a fine of $1,000 for each day the person has failed to register. Animal shelters and pet stores in Albany County would be required to check the registry before selling an animal to the owner. If it fails to do so, the employee would be guilty of a violation and face a fine of $5,000, according to the law.

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dudleysmom 3 years, 11 months ago

I like the idea but written won't work. It does not cover ownership by other members of the abusers family, or animals given as gifts.

Hope they work on it before they adopt it.


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