New York Bill Would Require Animal Adopter ID Checks

Under a bill passed by the Suffolk County, N.Y., Legislature on May 10 breeders and rescue operators in the county will be required to consult the Suffolk County Animal Abuser Registry before releasing an animal to a prospective new owner. 

Last year, Suffolk County lawmakers passed a law establishing the Animal Abuse Registry, an online database of convicted animal abusers in that county. That law requires convicted animal cruelty offenders age 18 years or older to provide their names--including aliases--addresses, and a photograph to the registry within five days of release from jail, or five days after their conviction; offender information will remain in the database for five years.

A companion bill passed this week requires animal shelter operators, breeders, and pet store operators to screen the identification information provided by all prospective animal adopters or buyers against information contained in the animal abuser database.

Those who knowingly sell, offer, deliver, or provide an animal to anyone registered on the animal abuser registry could face penalties of $500 in fines for the first offense, $1,000 in fines for a second offense, and $1,500 in fines for a third or any other subsequent offense.

Suffolk County SPCA Director Roy Gross said the bill is another tool to prevent animals from being placed with known abusers.

"You're never going to stop every person who should not have an animal from getting one, but this bill will certainly make a big difference," Gross said.

Paul Perillie, legislative aide to bill sponsor Leg. Jon Cooper, said the bill could become law within 30 days: "County Executive Steve Levy has 30 days to act on the bill. If he does not act, it becomes a pocket approval."

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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