On the heels of that sickening video showing a man brutally kicking a dog in a Harlem elevator, the City Council is proposing legislation that would require animal shelters to check a registry of convicted animal abusers. If the prospective pet owner's name comes up on the registry, the shelter would be prohibited from turning the pet over to the individual. The Council is preempted by the State from regulating pet shops, but the bill would make it harder for animal abusers to become pet owners again.
"We want to keep defenseless animals out of the hands of known abusers," said Council Member Peter Vallone, who is co-sponsoring the legislation. "Right here in Astoria, we had a punk who threw his dog out of a window, and right now there’s nothing stopping him from going to an animal shelter and adopting a puppy." Crimes that would result in inclusion in the registry are animal fighting, abandonment, aggravated cruelty and failure to provide proper sustenance, among others.
The registry would also be shared with all law enforcement agencies, district attorneys, humane societies, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, dog or cat protective associations, animal control officers, pet shops and animal shelters.
According to Vallone's statement, "Those convicted of animal abuse will remain on the registry for five years following their first offense, and 10 years for any subsequent convictions. Anyone convicted of animal abuse who fails to report to the registry or who owns an animal while listed in the registry faces punishment of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine." Five or 10 years is a start, but should someone who tortures an animal EVER be allowed to own a pet again? In fact, "NEVER" seems too soon for someone who'd treat a pet like this.