Hazel is the dog beaten in an elevator by Brian Freeman, who is facing animal cruelty charges
After Brian Freeman, an East Harlem man, was arrested for brutally beating his dog in an elevator last week, New York City Councilman Peter Vallone was prompted to take action and is proposing a bill that would place anybody convicted of animal abuse into a public registry, similar to the sex offender registry.
The animal abuse registry would help prevent convicted animal abusers from getting new pets and thereby help prevent repeat offenses. Said Vallone, "We had a punk..who threw his dog out the window. There is nothing preventing him from going out tomorrow and getting a free animal out of a shelter. We need to prevent that."
The proposed registry would record individuals convicted of animal abuse and cruelty (such as beating, neglecting or otherwise criminaly mistreating an animal) and their names would kept for up to five years. Suffolk, Rockland and Albany counties have already implemented similar registries. Several state lawmakers are also proposing a state-wide version, which would be more far-reaching.
"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," Vallone said.
Should Vallone's proposal pass, the city Health Department would take charge of compiling and distributing the database. Lisa Franzetta of the Animal Legal Defense Fund pointed out a well known fact for animal welfare activists, but one not so well known by the general public. She said, "In story after heartbreaking story, abusers repeat their violent crimes against helpless animals — and often go on to victimize people as well. Most serial killers begin by victimizing animals." Lisa added, "Abuser registries are a common-sense idea whose time has come."
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