Dori Edwards, Global Animal
NEW YORK — The East Coast took progressive steps in animal politics this week. On September 12, City Councilman Peter Vallone proposed a bill that calls for the establishment of an animal abuser registry in New York City. Suffolk, Albany and Rockland counties of New York have already implemented the database and if the Big Apple follows suit, the state will “become the largest jurisdiction in the country to protect its animals,” according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
The bill enables pet stores and shelters to have access to an online catalogue of convicted animal abusers who are required, like a sex offender, to file their felony. Archived offenders will not be allowed to adopt or purchase another pet in order to ensure there is no repeat offense. Because, as Vallone believes, once an offender, always an offender.
In New Jersey, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. sponsored a bill to increase penalties for animal neglect. “Patrick’s Law,” named after a pit bull found emaciated in a back alley dumpster in 2011, considers animal abuse a fourth degree offense and if the abuse results in death, a third degree crime. The bill, which was approved 3-0, also increased punishment for dog fighting and leaving pet companions in a hot car.
A year after his rescue, Patrick the pit bull has fully recovered from his starved condition. However, not all abused animals are as lucky. Passing the proposed bills will help prevent future victimization of pets and offer preventative measures for cities concerned about animal welfare. We hope the unanimous vote in favor of Patrick’s bill is indicative of their full senate meetings and that the East Coast will soon offer a brighter future for its precious pets.