Animal Abuse Registry May Be In County Future Greene County

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CATSKILL – Greene County is considering creating an animal abuse registry aimed at reducing the number of animal crimes.

Jamie Mitchell, founder of Hyer Ground Rescue in Catskill, presented a registry proposal at Wednesday’s meeting of the Greene County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee.

The registry would identify county residents who have been convicted of animal crimes.

“As leaders, as parents, as adults, we have an obligation to set the standard in our community for our young people to protect the innocent, whether they are animals, the elderly, children or infirm, ”Mitchell told the committee. “It is our obligation.”

There are animal abuse records in 20 counties in New York State: Albany, Bronx, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Niagara, Onondaga, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland , Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.

Most animal abuse records include the individual’s name, address, photo, and date of conviction.

“It would be a register of those who have been convicted of a certain type of violence against animals and it would be available to the public, so if someone who has been convicted wants to adopt or buy an animal, the group can check the register, ”Greene said. County Legislature Speaker Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said.

The aim is to help reduce the number of cases of animal cruelty, he said.

“Maybe that will prevent a future case of abuse,” Linger said Thursday.

The registry would also include information and resources for pet owners who might need help feeding and caring for their animals.

“If you feel like you have a problem or know someone who is, there would be contact information on the registry so people can ask for help,” Linger said. “In the worst case scenario, if someone is convicted, you can help prevent this from happening again. “

Holding people accountable for animal cruelty could have greater effects on public safety as a whole, Mitchell said. There have been links between cruelty to animals, especially among children, and future crimes against people, she said.

“Cruelty to animals and violence to people have something in common: both types of victims are sentient, living beings who experience pain and distress and may die from their injuries,” Mitchell said, citing reports from the Animal Legal and Historical Center.

Studies have shown links between animal abuse and other crimes, including murders by convicted serial killers Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz, according to the FBI website. .

“People who abuse animals as children are more likely to commit murder or violent crime as adults,” Mitchell said. “This is not just a sign of a personality defect, but of a profound mental disorder that requires intervention before it gets to the point where someone in our community is injured.”

There is also a link between animal abuse and domestic violence and child abuse, according to the FBI.

By publishing a registry of convicted animal abusers, the county could potentially prevent these people from adopting or purchasing animals in the future, Mitchell said.

“It’s about identifying who in our community might be a predator that we wouldn’t be able to identify if we didn’t have a registry in place,” Mitchell said.

Recommendations for an animal abuse registry in Greene County are not new – Mitchell started pushing for a registry over a year ago, but efforts have been sidetracked by the COVID pandemic – 19, Linger said.

A statewide registry would provide the most effective method of identifying animal abusers, Linger said.

“My suggestion was to link our registry to other state registries. We’re kind of hoping that this turns into a statewide initiative because it would make it easier for people to do a full search, ”Linger said. “Right now the counties are doing it themselves. “

The concept of an animal abuse registry has been discussed with the Greene County District Attorney’s Office and Greene County Sheriff’s Office, and both are on board, Linger said.

The next step would be for the proposal to make its way through the legislative process.

“At this point we have drafted the local law and the resolution,” Linger said. “The district attorney looked at it, so I imagine during this month’s meeting cycles [of the Legislature] we would hold a public hearing and make a local law for the next month. Once this is over, we will establish an Animal Abuse Registry in Greene County. “

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