Legally Brief: Christmas Comes Early for Animals—as Abuser Registry Takes Hold in NYC

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF Executive Director on December 20, 2013

This week, the New York City Council voted unanimously to create a registry of animal abusers. This legislation, introduced by Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr. and supported by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, means the city can keep better tabs on animal abusers within its city limits.

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The impetus for this city registry came after Astoria bodybuilder Milan Rysa threw his own dog out an apartment window (he was convicted for this act of cruelty). Vallone wanted to ensure something like this could never happen again. “Right now, there’s nothing stopping an animal abuser from walking out of prison, going to his neighborhood pet shop, and buying a new animal to hurt,” said Council Member Vallone. “Our shelters are doing an excellent job of trying to keep animals safe, but they have no way of knowing if they are handing a puppy off to a violent criminal—my registry fixes that problem.”

This registry will provide electronic information to law enforcement, pet stores, shelters, veterinarians, and animal protection groups and require them to consult the registry before adopting out or selling an animal to anyone. Furthermore, it would prohibit convicted animal abusers from owning, residing with, or intentionally engaging in any physical contact with any animals for a minimum of 5 years.  Anyone in violation of these terms—who fails to report or who owns an animal during the period of their prohibition – would face up to a year in prison. Registries like Vallone’s aim to speak up for animals who cannot speak up for themselves, and that’s why the Animal Legal Defense Fund has worked so closely with Vallone’s office to get this bill passed.

ALDF has led the effort to establish animal abuser registries and recently launched a campaign to create a national animal abuser registry. This national database would provide a valuable public tool to help ensure that no animal is ever adopted out or sold to a convicted animal abuser even when abusers cross state or county lines to do so.

ALDF worked closely with Suffolk County, New York to help it become the first-ever locality to pass an abuser registry law, two years ago. Many states are considering registry bills this year; four counties in New York have already passed such laws (Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, and Albany). ALDF offered start-up grants to establish state-level registries in Michigan, Texas, and Arizona this year—and offered to donate $10,000 to offset the costs of establishing a registry in New York City—which has just become the largest jurisdiction in the nation to protect its citizens with an animal abuser registry.

These registries are a gift for animals and animal advocates. Along with Council Member Vallone, ALDF believes that protecting animals and communities is something we can all get behind.


13 thoughts on “Legally Brief: Christmas Comes Early for Animals—as Abuser Registry Takes Hold in NYC

  1. Fani says:

    We love and protect animals

  2. Fani says:

    Mercy for strays

  3. sheila orff says:

    This is very good news….i think that anyone that abuses an animal should be on a registry for abusers..so they cant easily get more to hurt…I hope other states do this asap..

  4. Linda rocco says:

    I think the registry is great. Not for nothing but they should also have a law that u need to fix your animals! Too many unwanted…neglected….abused animals in this world people need to be responsible

  5. Lori Hessinger Benefiel says:

    Could not thank you so much for thanking animal cruelty,and make us able to be able to these cruelty of animal,May not live in ny but was born and raised there in CAtskills Ny,best news ever,every state should no the same BRAVO NY YOU ROCK

  6. Sylvia Barca says:

    STOP, STOP, STOP…

  7. Sylvia Barca says:

    Get an animal abuse registration NOW!

  8. Connie says:

    We need something like this everywhere, animal abusers need to be stopped from getting other animals to hurt. It is bad enough I watch things on TV and learn that animal abusers are allowed to keep their animals, No, no, no, they should not be allowed to keep any other pets. It is also bad enough that I see stray cats out all the time where there is heavy traffic and really extreme temperatures. I worry about them. We need this everywhere.

  9. Tamara Lazaro says:

    This is so wonderful this needs to be in every county in every state there’s so much animal cruelty going on in this world that we don’t even know of but I’m so glad for it to be passed here maybe now it’ll eventually be in every state thanks so much not only from me but ffor those who can’t speak

  10. pat long says:

    Thank you NYC. OK Atty General schneiderman,
    lets do the same for NYS!

  11. That is so great that new york City has an animal abuse registry so that all the animals will be protected and not be adopted to a potential animal abuser. Great job mr. vallone. You did a great job helping this bill to be put into law. All animals of New york city need to be protected as well as all of the animals in New York state need to be protected. linda kreuzburg

  12. Susan says:

    Thank God! A relatively simple tool that could potentionally save an unknown number of animals from cruelty and death. Thank you to NYC Council members for instituting this common-sense requirement. Now, if we can get this throughout the country…

  13. Jacqueline says:

    Finally ! All states should follow this example , protecting the
    innocent from potential cruelty & abuse. Thank you for all your hard work.

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