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Historic Animal Abuse Registry Bill Passes in NYS Senate

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NYS Senate Votes in Favor of Animal Rights

Registry Designed to Protect all Animals in New York State

NYS Animal Abuse Registry Bill. Photo Courtesy of Animalvoices.orgThe New York State Senate made history this week in passing legislation that requires anyone who is convicted of abusing an animal to be registered into a public database and to undergo a mandatory psychiatric evaluation.

This new legislation is the first of its kind in the United States. Much like a sex offender registry, this system will have the names and addresses of those who have committed crimes against animals made public. Individuals can then access the registry, which will help ensure that those selling or adopting pets are not listed.

The registry was inspired by Buster’s Law, which was first introduced in 1999 to protect animals from potential abuse. The inspiration for the law came from the horrific actions of a teenage boy in Schenectady who doused an 18-month-old cat named Buster with gasoline and set it on fire in 1997. The boy was arrested and received three years probation after being charged with a misdemeanor; his sentence outraged animal rights activists who felt his punishment should be far more severe. The passing of Buster’s Law has since made any kind of animal cruelty to cats, dogs and companion animals a felony in New York State.

One of the bill’s most outspoken advocate, Senator Greg Ball (R-Patterson) praised the passage of bill S2305A, which requires all violator of Buster’s Law to register their address with the division of criminal justice services. Those who are convicted of animal abuse and appear on the registry are permanently banned from ever owning an animal.

Senator Ball issued the following statement: “Buster’s Law was a landmark bill for our furry little friends. This animal abuse registry will prevent repeat animal abuse offenders. Persons who commit crimes against animals represent some of the worst kind of people, and often expand their carnage to their neighbors and the larger community. Most people can agree that the level of respect and kindness shown for animals, creatures who cannot speak for themselves, or protect themselves and are easily abused and taken advantage of, is a fine predictor of how a person will treat their peers. Violent and cruel behavior towards animals, cannot and should not be tolerated.”

It’s often believed that violent acts against animals is an antisocial personality disorder, where those who have a history of abusing animals such as cats and dogs, eventually act out this aggression toward their fellow humans. Reports from the FBI claim that the backgrounds of some murderers and rapists show a history of animal abuse, primarily in adolescence.

Buster’s Law does have its critics, who claim that there are obvious loopholes where those convicted of abusing animals are finagling their way to avoid any prosecution, but the general consensus is that the registry, once implemented, will hopefully help stop violence against animals.

According to the Humane Society of the United States 2012 Humane State Ranking Report, New York is ranked as 7th with a score of 58%, in regards to its animal protection laws.

S2305A will now go before the NYS Assembly, where Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) is sponsoring the bill.

Click here to read the full text of S2305A.

Dave Bower is Co-Publisher of The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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