State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-60th District, today announced the sponsorship of legislation (S6875) that would amend the agriculture and markets law to have the commissioner create an animal abuse central registry in New York for anyone over the age of 18 who is convicted in a case of animal abuse.
The law would require abusers to register annually, and prohibit animal abusers from possessing, adopting, owning, purchasing or exercising control over an animal as long as they are required to register. Any animal abuser who intentionally or knowingly fails to comply with the registration requirements or provides false information will be guilty of a felony, which is to be punishable by a imprisonment not to exceed four years or a fine not to exceed $5,000 or both. Shelters and pet stores would also be required to check the registry when selling or adopting an animal.
"This long-overdue law is much like the sex offender database, and is modeled after the proposal set forth in Erie and Suffolk counties. It is a workable plan that would not only help animals, but save money and ultimately prevent potential violence against human beings," Grisanti said. "Animal abusers are heinous people who hurt and kill animals that are incapable of defending themselves. An individual who would hurt an animal should be punished severely, and this animal registry will ensure they are not able to own more possible victims of their future violence."
Studies have shown a connection between the abuse of animals and violence against people including a 2001-04 Chicago Police Department study. It revealed that, of those arrested for animal crimes, 65 percent had been arrested for battery against another person. Of 36 convicted multiple murderers questioned in another study, 46 percent admitted committing acts of animal torture as an adolescent. And of seven school shootings that took place in the country from 1997-2001, all involved boys who had previously committed acts of animal cruelty.
Acts of animal cruelty have been linked to other crimes, including violence against women, property crimes and drugs or disorderly crimes.
Five states, including Arizona, Maryland, Florida, Colorado and now New York, have legislation pending that would let people know who is living near them and protect people as well as future pet victims.