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    By Michelle Carter

    PATTERSON, N.Y.- A bill requiring animal abusers to be added to a registry much like the Sex Offender Registry has passed the Senate, State Senator Greg Ball announced. Offenders would also be required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation be banned from ever owning a pet again.

    Buster’s Law, created in 1999,  made animal cruelty in New York State a felony offense. Under Ball’s bill, the names and addresses of anyone convicted of violating Buster’s Law would be registered with the Division of of Criminal Services.

    “Buster’s Law was a landmark bill for our furry little friends. This animal abuse registry will prevent repeat animal abuse offenders,”  Ball said. “Persons who commit crimes against animals represent some of the worst kind of people, and often expand their carnage to their neighbors and the larger community. Most people can agree that the level of respect and kindness shown for animals, creatures who cannot speak for themselves, or protect themselves and are easily abused and taken advantage of, is a fine predictor of how a person will treat their peers. Violent and cruel behavior towards animals, cannot and should not be tolerated.”

    Animal advocate Bentley Potter called the bill a great idea, although long overdue. As creator of the popular “Lost Pets of The Hudson Valley” facebook page, the topic of vetting potential pet owners is frequently and passionately discussed. He hopes the bill will make it easier to place pets only in safe and loving homes.
    “It is long overdue.  Animal abuse ‘laws’ have been virtually non-existent for way too long,” Potter said. “ I hope that this is just the beginning.”

    The bill is now before the assembly, sponsored by  Assemblyman Jim Tedisco of Glenville, who sponsored Buster’s Law in 1999. Buster was a cat who gained national attention after being doused with gasoline and set ablaze in 1997.

    “Now we have an opportunity to advance additional public safety measures including protecting our pets from abuse and ensuring animal abusers don’t go on to hurt people,” said Assemblyman Tedisco. “This was a top priority at our NYS Animal Advocacy Day. Now we need to push the Assembly to protect all members of our family.” (ARTICLE)