Public hearing on proposed animal abuse registry

May 4, 2012

A computerized animal abuse registry for Erie County is inching closer. Legislators held a public hearing into the matter Thursday night at County Hall in downtown Buffalo.

Legislator Terry McCracken is proposing the registry so data on people with criminal convictions for animal abuse would be online for five years and could be checked by pet stores or animal welfare groups to prevent them from obtaining more animals through purchase or adoption.

After the hearing, the legislator said there may have to be some wording changes in the proposed local law to clarify what's covered. That was one of the complaints during the hearing, concerning questions of what is considered an animal and whether farm animals are covered.

McCracken said there are too many animal abuse cases and something has to be done.

"It happens way to often," said McCracken.  "It's just been way to much and many times they are repeat offenders."

Several speakers during the public hearing pointed out that local stores and animal protection agencies can be bypassed for purchases off the web with direct delivery and no attention to the proposed registry. 

Farmers said they want to know if the registry would cover farm animals. Some farm groups worry whether farmers would be dragged into what is mostly a fight over pets and companion animals.