First-of-its-Kind Animal Abuser Registry Law is passed in Suffolk County, New York

Posted by Stephanie Ulmer, Guest Blogger on October 13, 2010

The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved a bill Tuesday, October 12th, to create a law establishing a county registry for animal abuse offenders. Suffolk County is home to 1.5 million human residents and an untold number of animal residents. The new law allows the county to create a public registry of convicted animal abusers. This registry will store names, aliases, addresses, and photographs of animal abusers in a searchable database in a format that will be very similar to New York’s sex offender registry. Convicted abusers will be required to pay a $50 annual fee for maintenance of the registry and those who fail to register will be charged a $1,000 fine or face jail time. An abuser’s name will remain on the registry for five years after their release from prison or the date the judgment was rendered, whichever is later.

A public hearing for a second bill, which would require pet stores and animal shelters to check the registry before allowing anyone to purchase or adopt an animal, was tabled for a later date. If the second law is approved, it will prohibit pet stores and animal shelters from selling or adopting out an animal to a convicted abuser. The Animal Legal Defense Fund worked hard in support of the legislation, in conjunction with the bill’s sponsor, Majority Leader Jon Cooper. This is a great achievement for Suffolk County and a momentous step forward for the animal abuser registry movement!