New York's City Council is considering a measure to require convicted animal abusers to register their name, address and photo onto a list similar to the sex offender registry, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The measure, introduced this week, was prompted after a slew of recent animal abuse cases, including a Harlem man who was arrested after being caught on surveillance video beating his dog in an elevator, reports CBS New York.
The list would be available to animal shelters and pet shops and registered abusers would be banned from owning animals.
“We want to keep defenseless animals out of the hands of known abusers,” the measure’s chief sponsor, Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr, told the LA Times.
The New York World reports that anyone with a criminal conviction for “an animal abuse crime” – including animal fighting, malnourishment, aggravated cruelty or abandonment – would have to register with the city's health department.
Owning an animal while on the registry could carry a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in prison.
“We’ve seen it too many times. It slipped through the cracks and someone that may have treated an animal poorly can again get another one? They’re gonna do it all over again,” Tiffany Lacey, executive director of Animal Haven Animal Shelter in Manhattan told CBS New York.
The measure still faces an uphill battle. According to the LA Times, several other states have attempted to pass similar animal abuse registries that failed. Bills in Virginia, California and Florida did not make it through their legislatures, partly because of concerns about the cost of maintaining the list.