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Legislator proposes animal abuse registry

Albany County would be early adopter of new tool

— An animal abuser as defined in the proposed law is considered to be anyone who is convicted of a crime that violates the New York State Agriculture Markets Law Article 26, which covers cruelty to animals. The bill also includes any of those who have committed sexual misconduct with an animal, harming a service animal, killing or injuring a police animal or harming an animal trained to aid a person with a disability.

Executive Director of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society Brad Shear said he felt it was important to have a law that strengthens penalties against animal abusers, as it keeps animals out of the hands of abusers for a longer period of time.

“The state law doesn’t have a greater penalty for multiple offenses,” Shear said. “This creates a lifetime on the registry upon a second offense. We do see repeat offenders, especially in hoarding cases.”

Shear also said this is a way to keep animal abusers from committing a crime without any cost to the taxpayers. He did identify one weakness in the law, though, which is that it is only confined to the county boundaries, which could allow the abuser to simply move out of the county without having to face the consequences of the law. Shear’s hope, though, is that other counties will pass a similar law.

“I think in the long term other counties will follow suit,” he said.

Clenehan said that he hasn’t talked to other counties but said that he hopes it gets to a point that several neighboring counties pass the law, forcing the state to address the issue.

He also said that he feels he created a law that will see bi-partisan support and one that has strong public support. It’s a fair law, he said, because while the 10-year placement on the registry is across the board, those convicted of an animal abuse crime will have to face the penalties of their conviction.

“Animal abuse is bad on its own,” he said. “It’s letting people know who the abusers are that creates a deterrent factor. The person is facing public shame for their crimes and will maybe think twice next time.”

There will be a public hearing on the bill on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Albany County Office Building at 112 State Street in the Cahill Room on the first floor.

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Comments

dudleysmom 2 years, 10 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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