Not only are animal abusers facing harsher penalties, some areas have now established animal abuser registries. Just like sex offenders, they will be placed on a list, and they'll also be banned from owning animals.
Orange County, N.Y., legislators unanimously passed a law last week that will create an online registry with the names and photos of convicted animal abusers and prohibit them from acquiring animals for as long as they are listed there.
In Newburgh, N.Y., they just passed a law called “Rocky’s Law” named for a dog that was subjected to freezing temperatures when he was tethered in the snow for five weeks while his owner went on vacation. The dog had to be euthanized due to his injuries.
The bill provides that anyone who is convicted of animal abuse in Orange County has to register with the sheriff within five days of being convicted or released from incarceration or be subject to a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to a year in jail and maximum fine of $2,000. Abusers will stay on the registry for 15 years, but would be reinstated for life if they are convicted again of abusing an animal.
New York City and six counties in New York State have taken a very tough stance on animal abuse. Orange is now the seventh county in New York to compile an animal abuser registry. Orange plans to create a network where they post links to animal abuser registries in the other jurisdictions, which include Rockland and Westchester, so that pet stores and animal shelters could check those sites before selling or placing an animal. A statewide registry has been stalled in the legislature since 2011.
The penalties not only affect the abuser but if anyone knowingly sells an animal or gives an animal to the offender they face a fine of $5,000. If convicted an abuser must pay a $125 fee to cover any county costs for maintaining the registry, and could be jailed for up to a year and fined as much as $5,000 if they obtain another animal while listed on the registry.
Virginia and West Virginia both tried unsuccessfully to pass a state registry.