Animal abuse registry to go before legislature

MAYVILLE — After a few alterations were made, a proposed Animal Abuse Registry is expected to be acted upon during tonight’s legislature meeting.

The proposed law was tabled last month after some concerns with the law’s language were raised. However, Legislator Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point, said a few changes have been made to the language.

Chagnon said where the proposed law once referred to “farm animals for farmers,” such as in section five and section six subsection B, the words “for farmers” were taken out.

“The problem was, how do you decide who is a farmer?” Chagnon said.

If approved, the Local Law Authorizing the Creation of An Animal Abuse Registry would go into effect upon filing it with the Secretary of State.

Under the proposed law, the Sheriff’s Office would be responsible for establishing and maintaining the Chautauqua County Animal Abuser Registry. This registry, which would be available on the Sheriff’s website, would provide a name, address and photo for each animal abuse offender. The offender would be listed on this registry for a period of 15 years.

The proposed law also sets the following penalties for violators: an animal abuse offender who fails to register will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration for a period of not more than one year and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000; an animal abuse offender who violates the prohibition against possessing, owning, adopting or purchasing an animal will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration for a period of not more than one year and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000; and an animal shelter or pet seller who does not examine the Chautauqua County Animal Abuser Registry to confirm the potential owner is not listed on it before the transfer of an animal, shall be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of $5,000.

County Executive George Borrello, a champion of the proposed law, expressed the importance of the law during a recent meeting of the Public Safety Committee meeting.

“No one wants to move forward bad legislation, that’s clear,” Borrello said. “I think clarifying these things and clearing it up, addressing the issue with agriculture in particular, certainly strengthens this. I recommend that this committee pass this so we can get this in play.”

Sheriff Joe Gerace said the proposed law is something he felt “very strongly about for quite some time.”

Tonight’s legislature meeting, which will include the county executive’s State of the County address, will be held at Chautauqua Lake Central School District at 100 N. Erie St. in Mayville at 6:30 p.m.