Onondaga County Sheriff Pushes for Animal Abuse Registry

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Far too often, animal advocates in Onondaga County say they're seeing repeat abusers. 

"[They're] some people who have abused animals but unfortunately haven't gone through the legal process," explained Cuse Pit Crew Member Stefanie Heath.

That's why Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway says an animal abuser registry is necessary. Under the proposed law, people convicted of animal abuse crimes would be added to the registry.

"[They would give] their name, their date of birth, address and a photo for inclusion on the registry. And they would be required to notify us for an address change or name change," Conway said.

The law also puts some responsibility on those who sell or put animals up for adoption.

"We can only go so far with an application process, and a home check and a reference check," said Second Chance Shelter Board President Kim Smith-Ford. "This registry will allow us to be able to check it and make sure the person standing in front of us is not on that registry."

Conway says this is just the first step in addressing the problem. He's pushing for a statewide registry as well.

"We see that people who are abusing animals are also abusing children. And if it happens once, it happens too frequently on my watch," he said. 

Before the registry can take effect, the legislature will vote on it, and then a public hearing must be held. Officials are hoping it will be in place by this summer.

The proposed law is modeled after one already in effect in Niagara County. Legislators say it won't carry any costs for taxpayers.

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