Animal abuser registries are taking hold
I received notice the other day that the Energy & Environment Committee of the Erie County legislature had a hearing on Valentine’s Day regarding a proposed local law which would create an online animal abuse registry. The proposed law requires pet sellers to consult the registry prior to the sale of any animal.
The proposal authorizes the Erie County Sheriff’s Office to create any rules and regulations necessary to implement this law, and calls for the Sheriff’s Office to negotiate an agreement with the Erie County SPCA (or a similar agency) to establish and maintain the registry. The proposed law calls for the online registry to contain the following information about an animal abuse offender: name, residence address, birthdate, photo, and date of each conviction of an animal abuse crime.
This information will stay in the registry for five years following the offender’s conviction date. If this law is enacted, any person convicted of an animal abuse crime must register with the registry within 30 days after conviction, and pay an annual $50 fee for as long as he/she is required to be registered.
During the period an offender is listed in the registry, he/she is banned from possessing, adopting, owning, purchasing, or exercising control over any animal. The proposal also prohibits any pet seller or animal shelter from selling or transferring any animal to a listed offender. Prior to sale or exchange of an animal, animal shelters and pet sellers are required to check the registry to confirm that a potential pet owner is not listed. A “pet seller” is defined as “any individual, person, partnership, firm, corporation or other entity which offers animals for sale or is engaged in the sale, exchange or other transfer of ownership of animals.”
Any convicted offender who fails to register on the animal abuse registry is subject to a fine of up to $500 for each day past the 30-day period in which they are given to register. Any offender who purchases or otherwise acquires an animal faces a fine of up to $1,000. Any animal shelter or pet seller that sells or transfers an animal to a listed offender can be fined up to $1,000.
When I went online to see if I could find any information on the status of this proposed law, what I found was quite interesting. Suffolk County on Long Island has the distinction of being the first to pass such a law in 2010. Since then, not only have several other counties in the state followed suit, most recently Westchester County in December 2012, but the movement spans the country, from California, to Florida, to Wisconsin, among others.
It is easy to agree that no sentient being should suffer abuse, and that anyone who would do such things should suffer as well. The issue becomes cloudy when we try to define abuse, which comes in many forms ranging from neglect to intentionally inflicting physical harm.
It can also be a matter of opinion to a degree. With horses, water and shelter are all that is required. It doesn’t matter if the horse is up to its hocks in mud and manure. A frozen stream or pond where they can paw through the ice, and a thick stand of pines in a protected draw can be considered sufficient. After all, horses survived and evolved for millennia before they were domesticated.
The scary part is how the animal rights forces are growing and moving the conversation away from animal welfare. There is a vast difference.
One prominent article I came across was titled “Animal-Abuse Registries: What They Are and How They Work.” It was an interesting article published in VegNews Magazine. I’m willing to bet that they consider eating anything of animal origin to be abuse to some degree.
I guess the bottom line is enforcement, and placing the burden of responsibility so heavily on the seller, although you have to think they would want the best for any animal. There is no doubt that all this is complicated.
The Rochester Trail Riders website www.rochestertrailriders.com is newly updated, and best of all it’s integrated with Facebook! The site has been revamped to offer area horse fanatics a place to get together in an online social environment. You’ll be able to add photos, topics, chat, add events and more.
Western New York Equifest is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 17 at the Erie County Fairgrounds, Hamburg. The event, from the New York State Horse Council Western Chapter, includes presentations and demonstrations by expert clinicians and trainers. www.wnyequifest.com .