79
      Tuesday
      86 / 66
      Wednesday
      89 / 68
      Thursday
      85 / 64

      Support grows to register animal abusers like sex offenders

      Should people convicted of abusing animals be placed in a public registry similar to a sex offender registry? A bill before the New York State Legislature would create an animal abuser registry and is gaining support among legislators in Oneida County.

      M any people in Utica remember the shocking story of Apollo, the dog found nearly frozen to death chained to a picnic table during the coldest night of the year in 2011. Nor will they soon forget the arrest of Patrick O'Neil, the Massena man charged this month with leaving his dog to die inside a hot car at the state fair. O'Neil was already facing 22 charges of animal abuse accusing him of neglecting horses near his home.

      The bill in Albany that would treat convicted animal abusers like sex offenders by putting their names and addresses in a public registry. On Wednesday, Minority Leader, Frank Tallarino convinced 13 democrats in the Oneida County Board of Legislators to sign a petition to show support for a registry.

      " I t's a very popular thing. A s an animal lover myself, I think people that do this are no different from those who are subjecting their children to abuse, there is a link," says Tallarino.

      T he legislation has already passed the State Senate and is now being considered by the Assembly.

      Sheriff Robert Maciol supports the idea of registering people convicted of cruelty to animals. "Having law enforcement involved in animal abuse investigations is very important because we see those branch out with other things: sex abuse of a child, narcotics abuse and other types of things," he says.

      M aciol is concerned about how such a registry would be enforced , the manpower he would need to monitor the abusers and the overall cost. Never the less, the sheriff says an animal abuse registry would allow people to keep track of the convict's whereabouts and help keep them away from other animals.