Have you heard the news? Suffolk County, a wonderfully forward thinking county on Long Island has just passed legislation creating the nation’s very first animal abuse registry. As with sex offender registries, people convicted of animal cruelty within Suffolk County must now add their names to an online list of offenders that is accessible to the public. The Suffolk County law was prompted by a recent spate of animal abuse cases including that of a woman accused of forcing her children to watch her torture and kill kittens and dozens of dogs, then burying the remains in her backyard.
Jon Cooper, the bill’s sponsor argued for the registry based on the strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence- it’s known that those who commit heinous crimes against people often hone their skills by torturing animals. Heck, as far as I’m concerned, those who abuse animals deserve to be “outed” whether or not that abuse might ever be perpetrated against people. In fact, if I were “Queen of the Universe” the repercussions for animal abusers would be far greater than this legislation allows for, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog. Mr. Cooper’s next goal is to create legislation that will prevent registered animal abusers from purchasing or adopting new pets. Kudos to you, Mr. Cooper, along with Suffolk County. Let’s hope your new legislation becomes contagious
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life