MAYVILLE – County Executive George Borrello is proposing the creation of an animal abuse registry.
The idea will be discussed at the County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee meeting next week. Borrello said it was inspired after a neglected dog named Mia was rescued from a fire at a Mount Vernon Place house fire in November.
The law would create an online registry that would include the name of any county resident who has been convicted of animal abuse crimes. It would prevent animal abuse offenders from adopting, purchasing or obtaining animals from any animal shelter or pet seller.
“If you have a sex offender in your neighborhood, you want to protect your family,” Borrello said. “If you have a serial animal abuser in your neighborhood, you’re going to want to protect your pets in the same manner.”
“This will give residents an opportunity to check this list to see if anyone near them is a convicted animal abuser. Ultimately, I’m hoping this will serve as a deterrent to people.”
Sheriff Joe Gerace added that he’s ready to assist in the elimination of animal abuse.
“Animal abuse is an unfortunate reality in our society and we must take steps to help eliminate it,” said Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace. “I became aware of similar legislation that was passed in several other New York Counties and believe it would be beneficial in Chautauqua County as well.”
“This new law would help ensure that those who are convicted of animal abuse will no longer be able to own and potentially abuse animals. Animals are unable to defend themselves and the passage of the animal abuse registry act will help prevent further acts of cruelty.”
Offenders would be placed on a list for 15 years, and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office would maintain the list.
The proposed law also sets the following penalties for violators:
· An animal abuse offender who fails to register will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration for a period of not more than one year and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000;
· An animal abuse offender who violates the prohibition against possessing, owning, adopting or purchasing an animal will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration for a period of not more than one year and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000; and
· An animal shelter or pet seller who does not examine the Chautauqua County Animal Abuser Registry to confirm the potential owner is not listed on it before the transfer of an animal, shall be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of $5,000.
If the local law is approved by the Public Safety Committee on March 21, 2018, it will be subject to the approval of the full Chautauqua County Legislature during its meeting on March 28. If approved, the Local Law Authorizing the Creation of An Animal Abuse Registry would go into effect upon filing it with the Secretary of State.