Oneida County legislators approved a law setting up a public registry of convicted animal abusers but only after tweaking it to make it less worrisome to farmers.
The Board of Legislators approved the law by acclimation Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the regular September meeting, shortly after the Ways and Means Committee gave its approval.
Its central part is setting up an online registry, to be maintained by the Sheriff’s Office, of people convicted of animal abuse in the county. The measure would establish a website similar to that of sex offenders, with offender’s names, residence, birth dates, photo and a description of the offense. Exceptions would be made for service animals, as defined by state and federal law, or someone who uses one and lives at the same address as an offender.
Support for the registry approach is not universal among animal advocates.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals does not endorse them, instead favoring stronger penalties for abuse. It says registries typically have a limited reach because they’re in effect only in certain jurisdictions, encourage defendants to plead down to lesser offenses to avoid the public notice, don’t address many sources of pets, can create a vigilante mentality, and do not apply to sources of pets beyond sellers and shelter adoptions.
Further, the organization says, similar registries for other crimes have not been validated as effective.