Legislature approves animal abuse registry | Greene County

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CATSKILL – The Greene County legislature voted to create an animal abuse registry after a 15-minute public hearing.

The law, which was passed by 13 to 0 with one absent, will establish an online registry of those convicted of animal crimes, maintained by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

“Animal abusers have a high rate of recidivism and are often associated with violence against humans,” according to the law. “It is the intention of this law to restrict people who have committed serious animal welfare crimes from being prohibited from owning or living with an animal for a period of 15 years and from being listed on the sheriff’s website in order to restrict their ability to obtain an animal.

Anyone living in Greene County and convicted of a felony of animal abuse must register with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and will be on the register, according to a county statement.

Any person or entity transferring ownership of an animal is required to check the registry to see if the person who obtains the animal is listed, according to the statement.

During the public hearing, Everlasting Hope Animal Rescue President and Founder Wendy Guntert said the registry would help reduce cases of domestic violence, as people who mistreat animals often mistreat people, resulting in harm. more serious crimes.

“I really think it’s important because if we can start making this public and putting them on the radar when they mistreat animals, then maybe – hopefully – we can reach them and work with them.” and law enforcement and mental health or whatever we need to do to put the resources in place so that they don’t abuse children, spouses, strangers and people in our community, ”said Guntert.

Guntert said Everlasting Hope will also advocate for a similar registry to be created in Columbia County.

Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione said the hope is that with this law, Greene County can work with other counties that have enacted similar legislation to advocate for a registry statewide.

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when our concerned citizens are involved,” said Stanzione. “The work on the registry is not that complicated. Yes, it’s a lot more work, but it’s a registry, similar to a sex registry, where a person’s name is entered on the registry so that we know who abused animals, which we can have. some control over whether or not they have pets in the future.

Legislature Speaker Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said some organizations had emailed comments for the hearing, including Delmar’s ASPCA, which asked the legislature not to pass the law because it creates a “vigilance mentality”, is costly to maintain and could decrease lawsuits. The Joint Pet Industry Advisory Council in Alexandria, Va., Also called on the legislature not to go ahead with the law because it “penalizes people who sell them at retail.”

The state Senate passed a bill on May 5 that would ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by retail pet stores. The bill was presented to the Assembly but was not put to a vote.

Harold Vadney of New Baltimore said he supported the law but was concerned about the burden on the sheriff’s department, who would manage the registry, and said the department should focus on more violent offenders.

Sheriff Pete Kusminsky told the meeting that the register would be manageable for the sheriff’s department.

“Our goal for this new registry is twofold: to provide the sheriff’s office with an effective means of communicating the identities of offenders to our residents and to create an online resource for anyone transferring ownership of an animal,” Kusminsky said in The version.

The movement to create the registry was led by Greene County resident Jamie Hyer-Mitchell and Hyer Ground Rescue, whose mission is to advocate and educate the public on state cruelty laws. animals, according to the press release.

“I am very encouraged by my experience working with the legislature on this new local law,” Hyer-Mitchell said in the statement. “Their support and recognition of the importance of this issue is evidenced by the speed with which they have embraced it. “

The county has created a new web page for the registry and will also be accessible through the Greene County Sheriff’s Office mobile app, the statement said.

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