GOSHEN - An Orange County legislative committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal to post the names and mugshots of convicted animal abusers on the county website and prohibit them from acquiring other animals.
County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis had announced his proposed law earlier this month and made minor modifications to it since then to address concerns raised by the District Attorney's Office, the Sheriff's Office and farmers. Both District Attorney David Hoovler and Undersheriff Ken Jones voiced support for the revised version on Wednesday, without reservations.
"As a district attorney, it's a good piece of legislation," Hoovler told the Rules, Enactments and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. "I think overall, you can't go wrong with it."
Anagnostakis, a Town of Newburgh Republican, dubbed the proposal "Rocky's Law,"
Anagnostakis' proposal - which goes to the full Legislature for a vote on May 7 - would create a registry on the county website, similar to what states and counties commonly use to identify convicted sex offenders, and require convicted animal abusers to register on it within five days of their conviction or after being released from jail or prison if they are incarcerated. Neglecting to report their convictions would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. The Sheriff's Office would maintain the registry.
Convicted abusers would be identified on the registry and prohibited from buying or adopting another animal for 15 years, with potentially stiff penalties against them if they do so and against any store, shelter or individual who provides the animal to them. A subsequent conviction would result in a lifetime ban on owning animals.
Six other New York counties, including Westchester and Rockland, and New York City have animal abuser registries, the only ones of their kind in the country. Anagnostakis contends the penalties he proposed would be the strictest.