Earlier this week, the New York State Senate passed a bill requiring animal abusers who have violated Buster's Law (the state's anti-cruelty legislation) to register their name and address with the criminal justice services . The bill also requires all convicted animal abusers to undergo psychiatric evaluation and bans the person from ever owning a pet again.
Buster's Law was named after an 18-month old cat who was doused in Kerosene and lit on fire by a teenager in 1997. The culprit is now a three-time felon and was later convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year old mentally disabled girl.
Buster's Law was a landmark bill for pets in New York, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Besides the registry, there are several bills that have been introduced by local politicians to strengthen and enhance Buster's Law. They include expanding the law to cover abuse to all animals, not just pets, and increasing penalties for animal fighting.
The registry would not only serve as an invaluable resource for keeping our pets safe, but it also sends a strong message that animal cruelty is a serious issue. It's a well known fact that many animal abusers go on to harm people, like in the case of Buster.
The registry bill now lies with the state assembly where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.
Photo by the N.Y. State Senate.