Animal abuse registry moves forward

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Onondaga County is one step closer to seeing an animal abuse registry.

The public safety committee approved the bill on Thursday, but it is not a done deal yet.

Those on the front lines of stopping animal abuse said Central New York has a big problem.

Vicki Krisak with Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse said animal abuse is widespread.

"They're starved, they're killed, they're neglected, they're hoarded, they're treated very badly," Krisak said.

She said the registry is a good start to curbing the problem.

"We need to find out who these people are and make sure that the public is aware," Krisak said.

County leaders said animal abusers are often repeat offenders.

Anyone on the registry would be prohibited form owning animals.

Pet sellers would have to check the list before handing over the animal.

A picture of the convicted abuser would show up on the public registry hosted by the sheriff's department and stay there for 15 years.

"All the tremendous people and organizations in this county that are doing great things each and every day to help keep people from abusing animals. My role is really in support of them," Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway said.

If it passes, Onondaga County would be the sixth in the state to have a registry.

Conway said he hopes eventually New York legislators pass a statewide bill.

"Hopefully, going forward they'll be enough momentum. Certainly, now with Onondaga County coming on board with the other six counties, and hopefully, we can keep the momentum going for it to become statewide," Conway said.

The proposal will go before the full county legislature for a vote.

To pass, County Executive Joanie Mahoney will need to sign off on it.

If approved, the registry could be in place as early as August.

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