Animal Cruelty Registry: Suffolk County, NY Starts Watch ListPublished November 15, 2010
New York state residents living in Suffolk County who are crazy about animals just received another reason to shout, "I love New York." A new law has been passed creating a registry, placing anyone convicted of abusing animals in the county on a publicly-visible watch list, similar to those kept for sex offenders. Suffolk County legislators are hopeful that the rest of the country will follow suit, joining other states that already are considering similar legislation. Suffolk is mainly a suburban county in Long Island, New York, with approximately 1,500 million residents. Those convicted of animal cruelty/abuse will be mandated to sign up for the registry along with an annual fee of $50.00 to help defray the cost of the watch list's upkeep. Those that fail to register will be charged $1000 or face imprisonment. In addition, a law which bans anyone convicted of animal cruelty from ever adopting or purchasing an animal from a shelter or pet store is also under consideration by Suffolk County officials. This law would require pet stores and animal shelters to check the registry prior to allowing anyone to buy or adopt an animal. What concerns me is nothing has been mentioned at this time about requiring breeders to also check the registry before selling pets in private sales. A website will give access to the public the names, aliases, addresses and photographs of those convicted. Only one limited database now exists created by pet-abuse.com. It goes without saying that Animal Rights activists are thrilled with this new law. In an interview with the Associated Press, the founder of a Suffolk County animal rescue center said, "We need to protect every animal that's out there because they don't make the decisions in their life; human beings do." Legislators consider that this law may not only reduce crimes of animal cruelty, but may serve to prevent domestic violence and other violent crimes directed at humans. In an interview with the North Shore Sun, Roy Gross with the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals commented, ""Most serial killers began as animal abusers. It's a known fact: People who hurt animals hurt people too." I highly commend Suffolk County for taking crimes of animal cruelty so seriously. I fervently hope that this forward thinking legislation will swiftly be replicated by the rest of the country. What are your opinions about this new law? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.