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New York City introduces animal abuser registry

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Convicted animal abusers in New York City will have to report to a registry similar to those created for sex offenders, after the City Council passed new legislation on Thursday.

The legislation - introduced by Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr. - will create a publicly-accessible database of animal abusers. New York City residents convicted of animal abuse crimes will be required to register upon their release from incarceration. If not incarcerated, residents will be required to register within five days of sentencing.

The animal abuse registry will include individuals convicted of aggravated neglect, abandonment, animal fighting, and aggravated cruelty.

First time offenders will remain on the registry for five years and those guilty of subsequent abuses, 10 years. Anyone convicted of animal abuse who fails to report to the registry or who owns an animal during their period of registration face penalties of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Rescues, shelters, and pet sellers will be required to check the registry before adopting or transferring a pet in their care, and they will be prohibited from transferring, or adopting to, any person currently listed on the animal abuse registry.

Council Member Vallone said,

“This is a Christmas present not only to New York City animals, but animals in all of the areas that will now move forward with similar registries. Abusers are now on a short leash and this registry will help prevent them from being able to torture another animal.”

Vallone also expressed his desire that other cities will introduce similar laws, to create a comprehensive national database of animal abusers.

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