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Proposed Statewide Animal Abuse Registry Lacks Necessary Teeth

A statewide animal abuse registry, as written, is a waste of time that shouldn’t be discussed on the floor of the state Legislature.

Proposed by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, the legislation would keep those convicted of animal fighting; overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance or aggravated cruelty to animals from owning a companion animal for five years. The legislation’s goal is worthy, but the bill is poorly worded. It has no mechanism to track those who are convicted of animal abuse crimes nor is there any sort of enforcement mechanism.

At least Chautauqua County’s law comes with the requirement that those who sell or give animals be required to check the registry, with fines of up $5,000 levied for those who sell an animal to someone on the animal abuse registry. Animal abuse offenders who violate their prohibition to own animals can face up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine while those sentenced to be on the registry who don’t sign up can be fined up to $2,000.

One can argue that Chautauqua County’s law hasn’t accomplished much, by the way. No one has been placed on the animal abuse registry in the year and a half since it went into effect even though we’re sure there have been animal abuse cases over the past 18 months.

If Chautauqua County’s animal abuse registry has dentures, Rosenthal’s proposal has no teeth whatsoever. Is it any wonder why so much substandard legislation is passed through the state Legislature when so many bills are so poorly written in the first place?

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