Rockland County, New York Unanimously Approves Animal Abuser Registry

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Rockland County, New York Unanimously Approves Animal Abuser Registry

[Ed. Note: VERY good news. ALDF drafted “Offender Registration & Community Notification” language for its Model Animal Protection Laws (PDF) collection in 2001, and continues to encourage its consideration by state and local legislators.]

By Stephan Otto on Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), May 2011

Designed to keep convicted abusers away from animals, Rockland County’s animal abuser registry proposal was approved by a unanimous vote on May 17, 2011.

The online registry is to be maintained by the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department, with administrative costs being offset by a $50 fee paid by the convicted animal abusers who are required to be listed on the registry for four years. In addition to listing convicted abusers, the system seeks to make it a punishable offense for a pet dealer to sell or offer to sell an animal to anyone on the abuser registry.

ALDF drafted “Offender Registration & Community Notification” language for its Model Animal Protection Laws (PDF) collection in 2001, and continues to encourage its consideration by state and local legislators.

Designed to keep convicted abusers away from animals, Rockland County’s animal abuser registry proposal was approved by a unanimous vote on May 17, 2011. Sponsored by county legislator Gerold M. Bierker, testimony in support of the registry was given by the general public as well as representatives of the Hi-Tor Animal Care Center in Pomona. The measure will become law once signed by county executive C. Scott Vanderhoef.

The online registry is to be maintained by the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department, with administrative costs being offset by a $50 fee paid by the convicted animal abusers who are required to be listed on the registry for four years. In addition to listing convicted abusers, the system seeks to make it a punishable offense for a pet dealer to sell or offer to sell an animal to anyone on the abuser registry.

In October 2010, Suffolk County, NY voted – also unanimously – to create the nation’s first animal abuser registry.

The gravity of animal cruelty is reflected not only in the physical suffering of the animals and the emotional toll on any humans touched by such crimes, but also in the high monetary costs these cases demand from local government agencies, and ultimately the taxpayers.

The correlation between animal abuse and violence to people is well-documented, and animal abuser registries - in addition to preventing criminal conduct - offer to raise public awareness about the connections between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence.

A measure which seeks to prevent crime is a measure which seeks, in part, to save taxpayer dollars. In the case of animal hoarders, for example, the recidivism rate approaches 100%. While the number of animals in each of these cases varies dramatically, veterinary care, property renovation and animal housing costs in even a modest hoarding case can be staggering for community budgets. By intervening in criminal abuse cycles, animal abuser registries have the ability to spare shelters and other city/county departments from having to absorb costs generated by repeat offenders.

ALDF drafted “Offender Registration & Community Notification” language for its Model Animal Protection Laws (PDF) collection in 2001, and continues to encourage its consideration by state and local legislators. Find out more at ExposeAnimalAbusers.org.