Local officials react to proposed statewide animal cruelty laws

A yellow lab adopted from the North Country SPCA

A yellow lab adopted from the North Country SPCA Photo by Seth Lang.

— New York Sen. Greg Ball is asking animal lovers to sign a petition calling for a statewide animal cruelty registry.

The call for the petition followed the sentencing of an Albany resident who plead guilty to leaving three puppies on railroad tracks to die in 2013.

The man will be added to the Albany County animal abuse registry so that he will no longer be able to purchase or adopt a pet within the county.

Outside of Albany County, however, he is currently be able to adopt or purchase animals.

The state wide animal abuse registry was passed by the state Senate last year but failed to get through the Assembly.

“I voted last year in support of legislation expanding Buster’s Law and if it comes to the floor this year, will do so again,” Sen. Betty Little said.

The registry would contain the names and addresses of people convicted of violating Busters’s Law in New York State, allow easy access to the public and provide information to those involved in the sale or adoption of animals. Those who have been convicted of abusing and torturing animals would also have to undergo a required psychiatric evaluation and would be banned from ever owning pets again.

Although Buster’s Law currently only applies to individuals who have killed or caused serious injury to companion animals such as dogs, cats or other pets, there are several pending bills that would expand the law to protect all animals, including farm animals and wildlife as well as failure to feed, water and provide shelter to animals.

Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting said there’s room for improvement within the proposed law.

“I agree in theory with the Animal Abuse Registry, however, as I understand this legislation, it applies only to those who have violated Buster’s Law,” he said. “This does not apply to farm animals and does not cover areas such as failure to feed, water and provide shelter for animals.

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