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Group calls for harsher penalties for those who hurt animals

Animal advocates in Central New York are calling for harsher penalties for those who abuse or neglect animals, including jail time and an animal abuser registry, after a dog was left to die in a hot car at the New York State Fair earlier this month.

Animal advocates in Central New York are calling for harsher penalties for those who abuse or neglect animals, including jail time and an animal abuser registry, after a dog was left to die in a hot car at the New York State Fair earlier this month.

— The registry would be similar to the state’s sex offender registry, in that it would require those convicted of abusing animals to register with the division of criminal justice services. In addition, those who have been convicted of abusing and torturing animals would also have to undergo a required psychiatric evaluation and would be banned from ever owning pets again.

The registry legislation passed the New York State Senate, where it was sponsored by Ball, but failed to make it through the Assembly, where the bill was sponsored by Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville). Now Ball is circulating a petition asking state residents to support his bill.

While Camp and his group think the state registry is a step in the right direction, they think it needs to go even further.

“There needs to be a national registry for animal abusers [similar to] the registry [that exists] for sex offenders,” Camp said. “These people need to be on a list where the public [and] law enforcement can make sure they never own an animal again.”

Camp’s group is also demanding harsher penalties of those convicted of animal-related crimes, instead of a “slap on the wrist.” Currently, the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law prohibits “the [confinement] of a companion animal in a motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation from such extreme temperatures where such confinement places the companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury due to exposure to such extreme heat or cold.” If the owner of the car can’t be located, an officer of the law can remove the animal from the vehicle by any means necessary and taken to a shelter or SPCA. The animal’s owner will then be subject to a fine of anywhere from $50 to $250.

“The laws need to change,” Camp said. “The punishments, fines and jail time need to be increased drastically.”

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