NYC Creates City-Wide Animal Abuser Registry!

Posted by Chris Green, ALDF Director of Legislative Affairs on February 5, 2014

UPDATE 2-5-14: The Michigan ICHAT Registry bills just passed out of the House Judiciary Committee without a single vote against them.  They now go to the floors of both chambers for full up or down votes.

On February 4, 2014 the New York City Council voted unanimously to override former Mayor Bloomberg’s veto and create a city-wide animal abuser registry across the five boroughs. ALDF has been involved in this effort since 2012, providing advice, testimony and even offering a $10,000 grant to help defray start-up costs.

The NYC registry will compile the names of convicted animal abusers and prohibit them from having any contact with animals for a minimum of five years. Shelters, Pet Stores and other entities in NYC also will be required to consult the registry before adopting out or selling an animal to anyone, and forbidden from transferring an animal to anyone on the list.

Keeping defenseless animals out of the hands of convicted abusers is an important way to address animal cruelty at its source—and today’s vote is a powerful legacy for former Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. who championed the effort. Indeed, New York City will now become the largest jurisdiction ever to implement such a registry. This is a great first step by the incoming City Council and indicative of all the potential good things to come from the recently inaugurated Mayor Bill de Blasio and his “Vision for a More Humane City for New York’s Animals!

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That is not the only good legislative news on this front. Hot on NYC’s heels, the State of Michigan is rapidly moving forward with its own version of the animal abuser registry concept. Instead of creating a separate registry, MI legislators have introduced a group of bills that instead would require shelters and animal control agencies to consult MI’s existing ICHAT system to do a criminal background check on anyone seeking to adopt a companion animal. Known as both Logan’s Law and the Animal Adoption Protection Act, the proposed bills also would prohibit animal abusers from owning animals for 5 years. Keeping our animals safe is something that resonates with legislators and voters of all political persuasions as noted by one of the bi-partisan bill sponsors Rep. Harvey Santana (D-Detroit):

“There are no Republican dogs or Democratic cats,” he said. “The issue of animal abuse reaches across party lines and concerns people on both sides. Having legislators from both parties and both chambers just makes sense. ”

After the MI ICHAT bills passed the MI Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously last October, last week I testified on behalf of the measure before the MI House Judiciary Committee—which is expected to vote favorably on the measures this Thursday. The bills then would move to the floors of both houses and could get an up or down vote by the end of the month. Michigan would be the first state to create this much-needed safeguard to keep animals out of abusers’ hands.

CG MI Registry Hearing

Rep. Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), former ALDF Clerk Renee Edmondson, and ALDF Director of Legislative Affairs Chris Green all testifying on behalf of the Michigan ICHAT legislation.

But Wait, There’s More!

At the Animal Law Conference held at Stanford last October, we announced ALDF’s plans to create a national Do Not Adopt Registry that will compile animal abuse conviction data into one, uniform database and make it accessible across state lines. Implementing a centralized, national registry will provide shelters, rescues, pet stores and individuals all over the country with one site to better screen potential adopters and customers to ensure they have not been convicted of animal abuse crimes, such as dog fighting or hoarding. Animal Control Officers similarly will gain an immediate, mobile means to identify abuser conviction histories during enforcement visits.

ALDF’s Do Not Adopt Registry will be open and accessible by anyone, but searchable only by name and date of birth (verifiable by a potential adopter’s driver’s license). If a name and birth date matches, then the database will provide the type/date/location of offense. This approach will keep shelters from having to negotiate a patchwork of independent, localized registries that are not linked to one another. It also will limit the manner and type of offender data available, so that only what is necessary for shelters and others to evaluate someone seeking to adopt or purchase an animal is made publicly accessible.

To that end, I’m happy to announce today that my home state of Illinois will be the first to introduce such legislation to opt-in to ALDF’s national Do Not Adopt Registry. We have been working closely with the office of Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris) and she is expected to introduce the bill any day now.

“I am very excited for the potential of a national animal abuse registry administered by the Animal Legal Defense Fund,” Sen. Rezin said. “The registry will allow us to protect animals and make sure they are being placed in safe homes. This will be a service for the shelters and organizations that work hard to place animals in good homes, giving them peace of mind knowing that they have a database to rely on when screening potential animal owners. I look forward to passing it through the Illinois General Assembly.”

As you know, Illinois consistently has been #1 in ALDF’s Annual State Animal Protection Laws Rankings and this legislation will help Illinois further push the national animal protection envelope.

One obvious target of this identification system is dog-fighters looking for cheap victims to train or use as bait dogs. Another critical group are those convicted of animal hoarding. The issue of animal hoarding is of grave concern given that in just TWO hoarding cases in which ALDF intervened in North Carolina (the infamous Woodley and Conyers cases), a staggering 500 DOGS and CATS had to be rescued from deplorable conditions and provided care. And such care is not cheap—in just one Ohio hoarding case, the price tag to the local county for rescuing and treating the 170 animals removed from a single home was over $1.2 million! When one considers that 80% of animal hoarders are likely to repeat their behavior, anything a municipality can do to identify hoarders within their borders only makes sound fiscal sense and strong social policy.

While we all certainly understand that most animal hoarders are in desperate need of mental health treatment, in the meantime, because innocent animals remain defenseless and vulnerable to this type of abuse, as a society we need to provide every tool available to prevent hoarders from easily acquiring yet another animal to harm. Up until now there has been no official mechanism to prevent someone convicted of animal abuse from simply walking into a shelter or going on Craigslist and acquiring a new animal to abuse. Every shelter we have spoken to welcomes any means they can employ to identify another Jeffrey Nally and keep their precious animals out of such abusive hands.

So all in all it has been a positive week across the nation for legislative measures to ensure that animals are kept out of the clutches of convicted animal abusers. We here at ALDF will keep you posted as these efforts develop.


48 thoughts on “NYC Creates City-Wide Animal Abuser Registry!

  1. Harold Stanley says:

    This law needs to be put in place everywhere! This is a good law and the maximum fines should be put in place for these monsters!

  2. Nikki Jutte says:

    Keep it up!!!!! Good job!!!!

  3. Matty Rondon says:

    Congratulations NYC! Now other states/cities to follow.

  4. Maureen says:

    Make it world wide !!

  5. Carol Thompson says:

    I think this law is awesome..Congratulations!! I wish other cities and countries would follow suit!! we need to save and protect those that cannot save themselves!

  6. Anthony says:

    Fantastic news… congrats to all who made it happen… now let’s take it NATIONAL!

    1. paul bell says:

      this is fantastic news …. hope it goes nationwide and here in Canada too … made my day :)

  7. DIANE LAUREN says:

    FINALLY PEOPLE WITH A SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG….AS A FORMER NEW YORKER AND AN ANIML RESCUER….GOD BLESS YOU ALL. AND IF THESE TORTURED AND ABUSED AND ABANDONED ANIMALS COULD TALK…THEY WOULD LICK YOUR FACE AND SAY THANK YOU TOO. IDENTIFYING THESE ABUSERS MAY JUST SAVE THE LIFE OF A HUMAN. IT’S BEEN PROVEN THAT KILLERS WERE ALL ANIMAL ABUSERS BEFORE THEY KILLED HUMANS.

  8. Deborah says:

    Like commenter Maureen, I too say “make it world wide!” A lofty, but wholly worthwhile goal…

  9. Donna R. D'Fini says:

    So happy to applaud legislation long overdue. Congratulations to you and happiness to all the animals which this will save…and humans too!

  10. Kim says:

    Wonderful work on both counts, ALDF! So awesome. Thank you so much for proactively implementing such important and meaningful efforts to make this planet a more sane, humane, and honorable place..

  11. diane graham says:

    we need this in the entire world, but step by step, state by state, country by country, this gives me hope, thanks New York and ADLF

  12. ash binks says:

    Please keep inocent voiceless animals away from abusers!

  13. maryann says:

    Thank you for protecting the animals.And it’s a great start.

  14. isasi says:

    Nation wide now!!

  15. isasi says:

    It’s about time!!!!’ This needs to happen nationwide !!!

    1. Yvonne says:

      I agree, this law should be statewide and prosecution should be harsh at best. These poor defenseless animals don’t ask for any treatment of cruel types and should NEVER be treated that way!! PROTECT THEM!! WAY TO GO!! =) =) =)

  16. Theresa says:

    Nationwide please!!..Finally we find a system that will keep abusers from repeating their behavior!! Keep abusers away from our beautiful anomals!!!

  17. Sufinaz Shopna says:

    Please help the NY City’s street cats. They are homeless and hungry cat. In this bitter,cold winter; they have no shelter, food which is very inhumane in 21st century. when America is the world food basket then his feline babies are hungry which is very shame!

  18. Kristen ward says:

    This needs to be a national thing!!!!!! Animals need to be put first once!!!!!

  19. Kristen ward says:

    For once!!!

  20. alexi Gallant says:

    Finally!!! We need to start protecting these animals. We are their voice. All animal abusers stay away from our beautiful animals

  21. Diane Murphy says:

    We Are The World, And all the animals are part of it,
    As we are,,, Even Without a voice, they have rights,,as much as we do,,,Love Them,,or Hate Them,,,They Are
    Here To Stay Forever,,<3

  22. Leo Fernandez says:

    I’m very happy to hear that NYC created an animal abuse registry. I’m an animal lover and advocate and would like to know if there’s a possibility to volunteer with such a great cause.
    Thanks in advance,

  23. Tristin Perkins says:

    This is a great idea. I do think it needs to be in affect!

  24. Taleen Perkins says:

    Yes

  25. Danielle says:

    lets be a voice for the voiceless.

  26. Gena Trammell says:

    I am so happy people are finally stepping up to these people who don’t deserve the love of an animal. I would die for my babies. The fact that a person can hurt or kill a animal so brutally and get a slap on the wrist is just wrong. We have to stand up for them because they can’t do it themselves. I for one will always protect my babies from any harm from anyone at any cost!!

  27. Marilyn says:

    This is Great News – I wish our Canadian Provincial Governments would try to implement some sort of protection against Animal Cruelty — We, unfortunately, have a lot of very sick people here in Canada with regard to animal cruelty & suffering even when caught it is like a slap on the back of their hand for punishment.

  28. Debra says:

    Great News :)

  29. Aimee Cooper says:

    This started with my bro, former Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper, who I believe was the first in the nation to implement this kind of law. He isn’t mentioned in the article, since his was a countywide law, so I’M mentioning him! : ) Great job, Jon! Now we need to really focus on the monitoring/regulating/closing of puppymills. Texas has passed their first law, and the results so far have been awesome. I hope other states, like Penn. and Missouri and Ohio follow suit. It’s so basic, and something all animal lovers, Repub. and Democrat, agree on.

  30. Rebekah says:

    I applaud all involved!!!! My only negative comment would be…I feel 5yrs is not enough. I feel anyone who is on this registry should NEVER be able to own an animal. It’s very doubtful that anyone who has a taste for abusing an animal, hoarding animals, etc., will change in 5yrs, if ever!!

  31. Karen says:

    Thank you members of New York City Council, your the smartest most caring politicians ever!

  32. Wendy says:

    Please do this anything these poor babies are torturted with should be tripled to their abusers!

  33. I think it’s a great idea, everyone should do it!!!

  34. Fitztab says:

    It is a start, but so much more needs to be done, heavy jail sentences. Animals in the law should not be treated as property, they are living breathing beautiful creatures. Anyone who abuses an animal should have at least the same sentence as if they did it to a human.

  35. PLEASE PUT THE NYC ANIMAL CARE & CONTROL ON THE TOP OF YOUR LIST. It’s not a shelter; it’s a slaughterhouse. Their new page on Facebook is propaganda worthy of the Nazis. PLEASE read the following link from a 3-year volunteer for this horrible place. PLEASE HELP! Thank you.

    http://shelterreform.org/blog1/2012/06/25/notes-from-the-underground-volume-15-life-after-volunteer-death/

  36. Christine fields says:

    Finally!! Animal have feelings and love unconditionally. We are their voices.Glad to see someone is standing up and taken action against people who seem to think abusing an animal is alright. Thank you for protecting our Animals.

  37. sharon lacy says:

    This is awesome news! I hope every state will pass similar laws across America! To protect the innocent animals from abuse! Now if they could take a look into the Murders of all the innocent adoptable animals especially those of the bully type breed at NYC ACC and Stop those killings should be on top of Mayor Bill deBlasios agenda!

  38. The AC&C used to post daily kill lists for animals that would be killed the next morning. I was up all night with a rescue org that managed to pull and save my latest cat for me. They stopped posting them for cats and dogs, and changed their page to look all pretty. Here’s an example: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.477487015602624.109721.220724831278845&type=3

  39. This is what their old page on FB looked like, but someone must have forgotten to take it down. Doesn’t matter; I couldn’t find the AC&C urgent dog list, but did get website suggestions, so it’s still out there! Please view photos and check out their old/real site:

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.477487015602624.109721.220724831278845&type=3

  40. Kosmia Sfakis says:

    Thank you ALDF Now the state of CA and there CITIES .Now Make it Word wide Please Please!!! FROM Riverside CA

  41. Sorry for the double link posting! Here’s the actual page and if you look under albums, they are still posting them! I think I finally had to block their posts because I’d cry everyday.

    Search NYC Urgent Cats on Facebook. Prepare to be disgusted. I lost friends over posting these because of the horrific photos, hoping people would share and that someone would save a life that night. Feel free to search our group on FB to those in charge of setting up this event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1456231481263968/

  42. jacquue masterson says:

    Massive thanks on behalf of animals who need all the humane humans who have compassion to be their voice….well done !!!!

  43. Renate says:

    I love your human actions and laws to protect our animals, what a great work, I love it and appreciate so much.

  44. Jan Flores says:

    Having just recently participated in rescuing 61dogs from a hoarder and seeing close up the deplorable conditions the poor dogs had to live in–and try to survive– I wholeheartedly applaud the efforts of these legislators and others for finally passing a strong anti-cruelty law and forming a registry to identify animal abusers. This is a victory not only for animals, but for those of us who care for and protect them. Thank you!

  45. Sylvi says:

    This should be world wide!!!!!
    The voiceless animals should have rights
    Punish and charge the animals abusers with a Felony.

  46. Janine says:

    We need to cross reference violent criminals registries, criminal records, etc before we allow people to adopt. The man who was high on drugs and who stabbed his dog in the neck a few days ago was a convict. People who are violent to people should not be allowed to adopt. http://www.examiner.com/article/minnesota-man-high-on-drugs-stabs-his-dog-the-neck