OLR Report 2014-R-0255 answers the question: Has any U.S. state enacted an animal abuser registry law? If so, what are the law’s provisions and who administers the registry? Is there a model registry law?
No state has enacted an animal abuser registry law, but some New York counties and New York City have enacted such laws. In October 2010, Suffolk County enacted what is believed to be the first animal abuser registry law in the United States. Rockland and Albany counties enacted similar laws in 2011 and Nassau County enacted one in May 2014. New York City’s city council enacted an animal abuser registry law in February 2014; it took effect on October 2, 2014.
Animal abuser registry laws require people convicted of animal abuse to annually register with authorities for a period of years. Anyone who must register but fails to do so is subject to penalties. Albany, Nassau, and Rockland counties and New York City also prohibit certain entities (e.g., pet shops or pet shelters) from transferring animals to registered offenders.
In Albany and Rockland counties, the sheriff’s department is responsible for administering the registry. The Albany County Sheriff may agree to have the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society establish and maintain the registry. In Suffolk County, the police department’s commissioner must administer the registry, but may contract with the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to do so. In Nassau County, the police department’s commissioner must contract with the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to establish and maintain the registry. New York City’s law requires the mayor or his designee to designate an agency to administer the registry (it does not appear that he has done so yet).
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) published a model animal abuser registry law in February 2010 and makes it available on its website.
For more information, read the full report.