Hearing to be set for draft animal abuse registry | Greene County
CATSKILL – A public hearing will be scheduled to review legislation creating an animal abuse registry for Greene County.
The Greene County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee on Monday voted to hold a public hearing on July 21 at 6:20 p.m. at the county building at 411 Main Street. The Legislature is expected to finalize the hearing on Wednesday. The hearing will be available both in person and virtually.
Local Law No.2 of 2021 would establish an online registry of those convicted of crimes against animals.
“Animal abusers have a high rate of recidivism and are often associated with violence against humans,” according to the legislation. “It is the intention of this law to restrict persons who have committed serious crimes against animal welfare to be prohibited from owning or living with an animal for a period of 15 years and from being listed on the sheriff’s website to restrict their ability to obtain an animal.
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.
The issue was first raised by Jamie Mitchell, founder of Hyer Ground Rescue in Catskill, who presented the proposal to the Legislature at its June 2 meeting.
But the registry has been in the works for over a year.
“We received the request over a year ago from Hyer Ground Rescue,” Linger said. “[Mitchell] has been working with the Sheriff’s Department since last year amid COVID, so it just took a while to get it started. “
The goal is to ensure that those convicted of crimes against animals are unable to adopt or purchase an animal.
The bill defines “animal” as “any living mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish”.
Crimes against animal abuse, as defined in the proposed legislation, are included in Section 26 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Act and in the State Criminal Law of New York.
State law prohibits animal fighting; torture or injure animals; not providing adequate subsistence; aggravated cruelty to animals; not providing adequate shelter for dogs left outside; electrocution of fur animals; confining pets in vehicles at extreme temperatures; poison animals; declawing cats; and other crimes against animals.
“We hope [the registry] will prevent future cases of animal abuse and also lead to action at the state level, where it would be easily searchable statewide, ”Linger said. “Right now it’s not easy to find – you have to go to every county that has one.”
While there are animal abuse registries in 20 New York counties, there is no statewide registry.
“It really should be taken care of at the state level, but the counties are doing it themselves due to a lack of action at the state level,” Linger said.
Local animal rights groups welcome the creation of an online registry.
“Finally, we were hoping that would happen,” said Katrin Hecker, founder of AnimalKind in Hudson. “I am very happy. We have been waiting for this for many years and I hope Columbia County will do the same. It is something that is very much needed and that will make our job much easier.
Hecker and Mitchell have expressed support for a registry and hope to present it to Columbia County once the Greene County registry is operational, Hecker said.
Susan Kayne, founder of Coxsackie-based Unbridled Horse Rescue, said an online registry would be good news.
“Records are a wonderful public benefit for animal welfare,” Kayne said.