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Advocating For the Ones We Love

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Advocating For the Ones We Love

By Jeffrey Termini
May 2012

When an individual is released from prison for sexual abuse involving a minor, their information is immediately posted on a sexual abuse central registry. This is done for the public good. We love our children and certainly want to protect them.
We as a nation claim to be animal lovers therefore, I believe it's time to put our emotions into action and afford them the exact same protections we have for our children.
Recently, the Erie County Legislature held a public hearing regarding Legislator Terrence D. McCracken’s introduction of a county wide animal abuse registry. This animal abuse registry is modeled after the sexual abuse registry above moreover, Senator Mark Grisanti last month introduced legislation in New York that would create the same registry. To date five states including Arizona, Maryland, Florida and Colorado have pending legislation that if passed into law would create a state wide registry. The law would require convicted animal abusers to register annually. In addition, the law would prevent abusers from possessing, adopting, purchasing, owning or exercising control over any animal.
Abuse is abuse regardless if it’s a private citizen starving his dog, cat, reptile, bird, rat, etc. to death or beating them till they're nearly dead. Animal abuse is certainly not discriminatory. It extends to all animals, however, the farm industry as well as the pet trade industry, two of the worst abusers of animals, would like nothing more than to be exempt from this proposed legislation. Could it be they have something to hide. If these industries who claim to be so "humane" to animals, are indeed humane by all standards, then why do they feel so threated by this legislation. If anything one would think they would be the first ones to stand behind it. This law standing on its legs would eliminate a great deal of oversight and transparency within these industries.
Growing up in the country and driving by the many farms only a short distance from my home, I never imagined the countless animals that suffered and died needlessly because no one including myself understood their suffering. Of course the Animal Welfare Act passed by Congress was in its infancy. Even if and when such abuse was reported, the authorities had little experience in dealing with it. How often do we read in the news of farm animals left to starve and freeze to death when their owners abandon the farm. It happens way too often. This is precisely the reason why we have such compassionate organizations as Farm Sanctuary located in Watkins Glen New York. Seeing these animals suffer really tugged at my heart as I felt there had to be a way to prevent this from happening.
There is not much difference in the pet trade industry. Retail, wholesale establishments and auctions need to be accountable for their actions. Puppy mills are big business these days. After attending numerous protests and workshops over the past few years I learned a great deal about the industry. Recently, there has been a bill introduced in the New York State Legislature by Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal that would crack down on these breeding facilities. Puppy Mills are notorious entities that breed females over and over until they are no longer of any use to the industry, which is how these facilities got their name. They breed these poor mothers over and over. When they are no longer profitable to the industry they are destroyed. Conditions at these facilities are poor to say the least. Unsanitary is a better term that describes these mills.
I would also extend this legislation to the entertainment and research industries. Wherever nonhumans are present. this legislation ought to apply. For the above reasons the animal abuse registry needs to be extended to not only private citizens but, to all industries that have animals in their possession. To an animal lover such as myself this would be an advancement in protecting our nonhuman family. I look forward to the day when animal abuse is a thing of the past. 

Jeffery Termini has been an animal lover all of his life. He has volunteered for the SPCA, Serving Erie County and is a member of HEART, Inc. (formerly Hamburg Eden Animal Rescue Team).