Erie County Legislator Terrence D. McCracken (D-Lancaster, Depew, South Cheektowaga, Alden) is leading the Democratic Majority in proposing a local law to create an animal abuse registry in Erie County.
The local law was introduced at the County Legislature’s Thursday, March 29, session.
“The registry would identify individuals in Erie County who have been convicted of an animal abuse crime to prevent those people from adopting, buying or obtaining animals from any animal shelter, pet seller or other person or entity involved in the exchange of animals by adoption, sale or other means,” Legislator McCracken said. “The registry would contain the names, residential addresses, birthdates and facial photos of animal abuse offenders living in Erie County, along with the date of each conviction for an animal abuse crime. The registry will contain this information for five years following the date of conviction or release from incarceration, and any animal abuse offender convicted of a second or subsequent such crime shall be placed on the registry for an additional 10 years.”
The Erie County Sheriff’s Office will be authorized to negotiate an agreement with the Erie County Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to establish and maintain an online animal abuse registry. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office will also be authorized to institute such rules and regulations to implement the local law, when approved.
“While on the animal abuse registry, people will be prohibited from possessing, adopting, owning, buying or exercising control over any animal,” Legislator McCracken said. “The penalty for a person buying an animal while on the list or selling an animal to a person on the list would be a fine not exceeding $1,000. The penalty for a person failing to register and/or update information annually or within 30 days would be a fine not exceeding $500 for each day the person fails to register or update their information.”
“Acts of animal cruelty in Erie County, Western New York and across the state and country occur much too frequently, and I believe that this local law can be one of the weapons fighting this crime and the repeated violations by some offenders,” Legislator McCracken concluded. “Animals are for the most part defenseless victims with regard to abuse. Data shows that those who have abused animals tend to repeat that abuse. Further, studies show a connection between those who have abused animals also have tendencies for domestic abuse and crimes in society. Animals are loving pets and parts of many families, and deserve to be treated well and not be abused.”