An animal abuse registry bill introduced by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) was voted through on Dec. 19 by the City Council.
According to the legislation, crimes that would result in inclusion on the registry are animal fighting, abandonment, aggravated cruelty and failure to provide proper sustenance, among others, and all persons included on the registry would be prohibited from owning an animal.
“This is a Christmas present not only to New York City animals, but animals in all of the areas that will now move forward with similar registries,” Vallone said. “Abusers are now on a short leash and this registry will help prevent them from being able to torture another animal.”
Entities that sell or adopt out pets, such as animal shelters, pet shops, veterinarians and duly incorporated animal rescues will be required to consult the registry before transferring ownership to anyone listed on the registry.
Residents convicted of animal abuse crimes will be required to register upon release from incarceration, or if not incarcerated, within five days of sentencing.
Once convicted of animal abuse, the abuser will remain on the registry for five years following his or her first offense, and 10 years for any subsequent convictions.
Anyone convicted of animal abuse who fails to report to the registry or who owns an animal while listed in the registry will face punishment of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Vallone, the self-proclaimed “chair of the Animal Safety Committee” hopes the bill will inspire other areas to emulate and create a safer environment for animals across the United States and maybe the world.
This bill is particularly special because it is Vallone’s last piece of legislation in the City Council.
He is being term-limited out and will be replaced by Councilman-Elect Costa Constantinides in January.