Leg. wants animal abuse registry, SPCA opposed

Posted at 1:51 PM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-30 19:06:36-05

An Erie County lawmaker wants to create an animal abuse registry, but the SPCA is opposed to it.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Legislator Patrick Burke is calling for a public hearing on the registry. There’s already a local law written to create one, but Burke says it’s been stuck in the Energy and Environment committee for nearly a year.

“The recent cases of animal cruelty depicted in the media combined with the passage of local laws establishing animal abuse registries in other counties in New York State, a public hearing on this matter is long overdue,” Burke said.

Niagara County created an animal abuse registry that forces those convicted of animal abuse to pay a fee and have their name and photo listed on the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office website.

But the Erie County SPCA says these animal abuse registries aren’t useful. This past March, outgoing executive director Barbara Carr penned a letter to lawmakers saying that those who commit a violent crime against an animal rarely do so again.

“In my experience recidivism is limited to those with mental illness, (hoarders), and dog fights. Other than hoarders and dog fighters, there has never been in my 22 years at the SPCA a person arrested twice for animal cruelty,” Carr wrote.

She said the SPCA more often sees neglect cases and instances of violent crimes towards animals are “extremely rare.”

Carr argued a registry will not reduce recidivism and will “use resources of animal welfare organizations as well as the resources of the Sheriff’s Department that could be better utilized in some manner.”

She also noted that hoarders often adopt strays – not shelter animals – and dog fighters breed their own because the violent types of dogs they use in fights are not found in shelters.

Carr said lawmakers would better serve animals by requiring mandatory counseling for hoarders. She also worries the legislation could cause fewer animals to be adopted by requiring a background check.

Burke has officially requested that a public hearing be held on the law within the next two weeks.




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