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Suffolk creates 1st animal-abuser list

Suffolk County has made history by signing landmark legislation to track animal abusers.

Suffolk County has made history by signing landmark legislation to track animal abusers.

The legislation, set to take effect in about six months, will establish a registry — much like sex-offender databases — listing names, addresses and photographs of those convicted of inhumane treatment and torture of animals. The Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will create and maintain it.

Offenders will be required to update this information annually and will be listed for five years. If they fail to register, they face a $1,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail.

“There is a strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence,” said Jon Cooper, the bill’s lead sponsor.

“This is the first such registry in the country, probably the world,” said Stephan Otto, director of legislative affairs at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which for years has pushed for such legislation. Suffolk County’s actions may encourage others to follow suit as about 20 states nationwide, including New York, are interested in setting up similar databases.

 
 
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