City Council member Peter Vallone Jr. has introduced a bill to create an animal abuse registry that would prevent previous offenders from being able to adopt or buy a pet in New York City.
The Observer reports such a registry would be the largest in the country:
The proposed bill would mandate that anyone convicted of any form of animal abuse—which could include animal fighting, abandonment, aggravated cruelty and failure to provide proper sustenance—would be on the registry for 5 years following their first offense and for 10 years following any additional convictions. Animal ownership would be prohibited for any individual on the list, a restriction that is often, but not universally, mandated as a condition of probation for those who are convicted of animal abuse.
Valone criticized the lack of measures barring animal abusers from owning new dogs and said, "The list would be provided to animal shelters and pet stores and you would be banned from owning an animal. If you did it would be a misdemeanor punishable up to a year in jail.
If enforced, those convicted of animal abuse who fail to voluntarily register their names face a year in prison and a $1000 fine.
The bill, which is also co-sponsored by council members Vincent Gentile and Elizabeth Crowley, follows the recent arrest of a 28-year-old man who was caught on surveillance video brutally kicking his pit bull in an elevator.
In 2010, Suffolk County in Long Island created the first public database used to monitor animal abusers.
The bill's sponsor, Suffolk County legislator Jon Cooper, explained, "We know there is a very strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence. Almost every serial killer starts out by torturing animals, so in a strange sense we could end up protecting the lives of people."