State senator seeks urgency in wake of puppy burning in Western New York
On Wednesday, State Sen. Mark Grisanti urged his colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly to quickly pass legislation he introduced in the spring that would create a state registry of criminals convicted of abusing animals and prevent them from getting near another innocent victim. Grisanti's bill (S-6875A) creates an easily accessible statewide database of anyone who has been found guilty of abusing an animal and makes ownership of another animal impossible as all pet shops or outlets would have immediate access to the information.
"In light of the recent local case of the Jack Russell terrier puppy that was set on fire in our community, it is even more imperative that swift action be taken to stop these outlandish crimes. I am mortified that someone could treat a puppy in this manner," Grisanti said. "Who in their right mind would do such a heinous act against a defenseless creature just starting to understand the world around him? As the proud loving owner of two dogs, I know that we must work harder to stop people from mistreating our four-legged friends. Let's put a stigma on these crimes making the punishment equal to other assaults. Whenever we go back into session, this is going to be a top priority for me to get this bill passed."
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 an 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.
Grisanti said reporting, investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty can take dangerous criminals off the street. Acts of animal cruelty are linked to other crimes, including violence against women, property crimes, drugs and disorderly crimes.
Four other states - Arizona, Maryland, Florida and Colorado - have legislation pending that would let people know when an animal abuser is living near them in an effort to protect people as well as pets.