Animal abuse legislation proposed by county legislator Mike Anagnostakis was enacted into law at the May 7 legislative session. Known as Rocky’s Law, the law would put convicted animal abusers on a registry to prevent them from owning an animal for 15 years. Also known as “Animal Abuser Registry Law,” the act is inspired by the Staffordshire Terrier named Rocky who was abused by its owner in Newburgh.
The law highlights the serious problem. The State of New York has criminalized the cruel treatment of animals, animal abuse, and cruelty. Studies show that people who have abused animals in the past are likely to do so in the future with an almost 100% recidivism rate for certain types of abuse such as animal hoarding.
The local law establishes an online registry identifying individuals in Orange County convicted of animal abuse crimes to prevent individuals convicted of animal cruelty from adopting, purchasing, or otherwise obtaining animals from any animal shelter, pet seller, or other person or entity involved in the exchange of animals by adoption, sale, or other means.
“They will be put on an animal abuser registry for 15 years and thus, by law, not allowed to have possession of another animal for those 15 years,” said Anagnostakis. A second conviction would prohibit that person from owning an animal for life.
Rocky was left outside by its owner without food and water for five weeks. Rocky eventually had to be euthanized because of his deteriorating condition. Rocky’s owner, Edwardo Macedowas, arrested last month for allegedly leaving his dog outside in freezing temperatures and snow in the City of Newburgh for five weeks while he went on vacation.
Anagnostakeis expressed his appreciation to the animal advocacy groups, Hudson Valley Animal Advocates, Pets Alive, Human Society of Blooming Grove, and others.
Orange County’s District Attorney David Hoovler supported the law’s passage. “It will serve a very good function. It will make people that are selling animals—or perhaps animals that are up for adoption, it will make people aware that they might be dealing with somebody that they shouldn’t be allowing to have an animal,” Hoovler said. “From that standpoint, I support it 100 percent.”
Names of convicted animal abusers will be posted on the county website.