If an individual is charged with an animal cruelty or neglect charge, there’s nothing currently stopping that person from going to the nearest humane society and adopting another animal. If an individual is charged with an animal cruelty or neglect charge, there’s nothing currently stopping that person from going to the nearest humane society and adopting another animal. While the state Assembly and Senate consider bills to enact a statewide animal abuse registry available to law enforcement and humane societies to assist the prevention of animal cruelty, an Onondaga County Sheriff recently announced his support for a local law that would seek to achieve the same on a countywide scale.
A media relations deputy for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office did not return a call for comment, but Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said he “certainly supported” that concept, as did his colleagues in Albany and Niagara counties who oversee their own county-wide animal abuse registries. “I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “The issue at hand is, hypothetically, if we arrest someone on an animal abuse charge, nothing is recorded or tracked to stop them from going to the humane society three days later and adopting an animal.”
He recalled the 2013 case of a Massena man whose dog died after being left unattended for hours in his car while at the state fair. The same man also was facing allegations that he neglected 22 horses and had a foal in his care die at his St. Lawrence County farm, Maciol explained. “I thought this was a perfect example where an animal registry would be a good thing,” Maciol said. “They were dealing with different counties where this man was charged and without one knowing about the other, there’s no way to know.” The state crime animal abuse registry would contain all convictions relating to animal cruelty, neglect, fighting, abuse and mistreatment, according to the proposed bill. The records would be available to all law enforcement entities, humane societies and animal protective associations but would not be open to the public. The bill also states that it would not prevent or limit municipalities from enacting their own local laws that seek to achieve the same end. The proposed bill passed the state Assembly’s agricultural committee March 21 and was referred to the codes committee. A Senate version of the bill was referred to the finance committee in January. Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, when reached for comment, provided a statement indicating his belief that people who abuse animals should be punished accordingly.
“I support any common-sense measure that will help law enforcement investigate serious crimes, and having a database with information on people convicted of animal cruelty and animal fighting offenses could be a valuable resource,” Brindisi wrote in an email. “We also certainly do not want people adopting animals that have a history of committing acts of animal cruelty. I believe it is important that any database like this provides accurate, up-to-date information on people who have committed these crimes.”
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. agreed the registry is a good idea.
“I am a strong advocate of animal rights and would support the establishment of an animal abuse registry in Oneida County,” said Picente. “We took a major step to combat animal cruelty in 2014 when we announced an agreement with the Central New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to conduct our animal cruelty investigations, and we will continue to do all we can to bring offenders to justice and make sure that they never put animals in harm’s way again. I am also a firm believer that committing acts of cruelty and abuse toward animals can be indicative of future violence directed toward humans, which is further reason to monitor such behaviors.”
Follow @OD_Parker on Twitter or call her at 315-792-5063.
Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is both the unintentional and the intentional infliction by humans of suffering or harm upon any non-human animal, regardless of whether the act is against the law. More narrowly, it can be the causing of harm or suffering for specific achievement, such as killing animals for food or for their fur; opinions differ about the extent of cruelty associated with a given method of slaughter. Cruelty to animals sometimes encompasses inflicting harm or suffering for personal amusement, as in zoosadism.
Laws concerning animal cruelty are designed to prevent the needless cruelty. Divergent approaches to such laws occur in different jurisdictions throughout the world. For example, some laws govern methods of killing animals for food, clothing, or other products, and other laws concern the keeping of animals for entertainment, education, research, or pets. Cruelty to animals is not the same thing as disrespect towards animals.
In broad terms, there are three conceptual approaches to the issue of cruelty to animals. The animal welfare position holds that there is nothing inherently wrong with using animals for human purposes, such as food, clothing, entertainment, and research, but that it should be done in a way that minimizes unnecessary pain and suffering, sometimes referred to as “humane” treatment.
Utilitarian advocates argue from the position of costs and benefits and vary in their conclusions as to the allowable treatment of animals. Some utilitarians argue for a weaker approach which is closer to the animal welfare position, whereas others argue for a position that is similar to animal rights. Animal rights theorists criticize these positions, arguing that the words “unnecessary” and “humane” are subject to widely differing interpretations, and that animals have basic rights. They say that the only way to ensure protection for animals is to end their status as property and to ensure that they are never used as commodities.