Suffolk County Considering "Pet Abuser Registry"

Animal abusers could soon be subject to the same sort of scrutiny sex offenders are.

By Katy Tur
|  Friday, Aug 20, 2010  |  Updated 11:28 AM EDT
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Suffolk County Considering "Pet Abuser Registry"

Animal abusers could soon be subject to the same sort of scrutiny sex offenders are.
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If passed, it will be the first law of its kind in country -- Suffolk County is proposing an online registry for people convicted of abusing their pets.

Suffolk Legislator Jon Cooper sponsored the bill, saying, "There’s nothing more horrendous and nothing more cowardly than abuse a child or abuse against a pet. That’s what we’re doing here today.”

The registry would work much in the same way it does for sex offenders: Anyone convicted of crimes against animals, including dog fighting, torturing, starving, or injuring a pet, will have their name, address, and alias included on the list for five years.

During that time, the public will be able to find out the names of abusers in their area and the abuser will not be allowed to purchase or adopt a pet

And Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross argued that there’s a strong link between animal abuse and a predilection toward domestic violence.

“People that abuse animals, will abuse people," said Gross. "It’s a fact."
 
Last November, a Seldon woman, Sharon McDonough was arrested for allegedly abusing and killing dozens of dogs. Then in January, McDonough’s son went to police accusing his mother of starving and beating his six younger sisters.

Officials promise the proposal will not put undue stress on pet stores, breeders, and adoption agencies. All such places would have to do, is check the name of the buyer to see if it appears on the online list.

Convicted abusers would shoulder the cost of the program by paying a $50 fee to the SPCA every year he or she is on the registry.

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