Rochester, New York – June 26, 2013. Democrats in the County Legislature were joined today by animal advocates, including Alice Calabrese, President & CEO of Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, to unveil legislation to establish a registry of people convicted of serious animal abuse crimes and prevent those offenders from possessing any animal for ten years after their conviction.
“Pets are members of our families,” Assistant Democratic Leader Willie Joe Lightfoot (D-Rochester) said. “Under existing law, convicted animal abusers are not automatically prohibited from owning another pet. There shouldn’t be a question when it comes to serious abusers. This legislation would enact a mandatory ban on animal abuse offenders from owning pets for ten years after a first conviction and a lifetime ban on a second conviction.”
The legislation would authorize Lollypop Farm, the Human Society of Greater Rochester, to establish and maintain the registry on a public website. Any person or entity selling more than nine animals per year would be required to check the registry before transferring ownership of an animal. Individuals who sell fewer than 25 animals per year would be exempted from having to check the registry if the animals are born and raised on residential premises. The intent of this clause is to not impact a pet owner who may wind up with a few puppies or kittens at home.
“This legislation is a worthy step toward preventing animal abusers from re-victimizing other animals,” Alice Calabrese, President & CEO of Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, said. “We are proud to stand here with our fellow animal advocates to lend our support toward enacting this legislation. It’s a known fact that some animal abusers, in particular animal hoarders, have an extremely high recidivism rate. If enacted, this legislation would prohibit people in those situations from owning pets again for a decade. That would be a significant improvement from existing law.”
“We are pleased to stand here today with many dedicated animal advocates,” Democratic Leader Carrie Andrews (D-Rochester) said. “There is no doubt that our community has a vibrant and active population of animal lovers. We hope that we can join with all like-minded citizens and Legislators—regardless of party—to get this legislation enacted.”
The proposal will be submitted to Legislature President Jeffery Adair, who will assign it to a committee.