A proposal to create an animal abuse registry in Erie County that would prohibit people convicted of abusing animals from adopting pets for five years has been revised to exclude most farm animals and fish.
Erie County Legislator Terrence D. McCracken, D-Lancaster, said the latest version of his proposal would more narrowly define the law so that it applies primarily to cats, dogs and horses – animals, he said, that are involved in most animal abuse cases.
The original proposal – which relied on a much broader definition of an animal – raised concerns from the New York Farm Bureau and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. The new proposal excludes farm animals except horses, as well as fish and other “aquatic creatures.”
“We didn’t want to be that burdensome to the farm community,” McCracken said. “We didn’t want to be burdensome to the mom-and-pop pet stores that sell goldfish and exotic fish and turtles.”
The proposal would require people convicted in Erie County of violating a range of animal protection laws to include their name, address, photograph and date of birth on an online registry for five years. Those on the list would be prohibited from owning, adopting or buying an animal during that time.
“I think that’s the main point here,” McCracken said. “We’ll be keeping animals out of the hands of those who have been convicted of these crimes.”
Animal shelters and pet sellers in the county would be prohibited from selling cats, dogs, horses or other animals included in the law to anyone on the registry and could face a fine of up to $1,000 if they sold one of those animals to someone on the registry without checking the list.
McCracken first proposed the new law early last year, but it failed to move forward despite support from rescue volunteers and animal advocates.
He re-introduced the proposal last month after it was rewritten to address concerns from the farm community and some legislators.
The County Legislature will hold a public hearing on the new proposal at 2:30 p.m. today in the Legislature chambers of Old County Hall, 92 Franklin St.