POUGHKEEPSIE – NY
Did you know that 62% of American households have a pet? Local legislators say that we need to expand efforts to protect animals. In a recent press release, Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Rob Rolison (District 8 – City and Town of Poughkeepsie), Majority Leader Angela Flesland (District 6 – Town of Poughkeepsie), and Legislator Joseph Incoronato (District 15 – Wappinger) and the majority of county legislators have asked state Assembly and Senate members representing Dutchess County to pass legislation creating a statewide registry for those convicted of animal cruelty. Rolison, Flesland, and others called on the state delegation to expand recent efforts, such as Orange County’s “Rocky’s Law,” in order to identify animal abusers, close the enforcement gap, and reduce duplication across county-based registries.
The Orange County measure was signed into law in June and, according to public statements by officials there, will link to New York City and the six additional counties that maintain similar animal-cruelty registries. A statewide database incorporating all county data has not been passed in Albany since its introduction four years ago. In their letter, Dutchess legislators argued that a statewide registry would ultimately be more effective at preventing animal abuse: “Current reporting gaps would not be addressed by having multiple county-based registries; if anything, this approach might contribute to additional logistical problems which otherwise could be avoided through implementation at a single, state level.”
“Animal advocates across New York have been joining our call for a statewide animal-abuser registry. The recent deaths of two dogs locked inside a sweltering car in the City of Poughkeepsie only drives this point home. No abuser should escape justice, which is why significant changes must also take place at the state level for registries to truly prevent repeat abuses by those bent on harming our pet population,” said Flesland.
The toxic nexus between cruelty towards animals and other forms of violence was also described as an argument in favor of a statewide registry’s immediate passage: “Studies have demonstrated concretely the linkage between animal abuse and violence against people. We respectfully urge you to re-introduce animal-abuser-registry legislation at the earliest possible time in order to keep our families and our pets safe. This will ensure that repeat offenders cannot escape justice by moving outside county lines, and improve enforcement across the registry.”
“Animal crimes are abhorrent acts that can feed other forms of violence and social dysfunction. My law enforcement background taught me that effective enforcement relies in part on properly measuring the scope of the problem and accurately identifying repeat offenders. With a statewide animal-abuser registry, we can do just that. I am therefore joining with a majority of my colleagues in the Dutchess County Legislature to urge our state Assembly and Senate representatives to act today. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,” said Rolison.
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