Astorino signs animal abuse registry legislation in Westchester

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County Executive Rob Astorino has signed legislation to create a registry for animal abusers in Westchester similar to sex offender registries.

Westchester residents convicted of animal abuse will have to provide their names, addresses and photos to the county for 10 years and the information will be online. Someone convicted twice will be on the registry for life. It will be illegal for a person on the registry to own an animal.

Legislators were persuaded of the need for the registry in part because of the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence, child abuse and other crimes. The Westchester Bar Association first asked the board to pass a registry law. The board vote earlier this month was 17-0.

Rockland, Suffolk and Albany counties have already established registries.

In Westchester, there are about two felony and 12 misdemeanor animal abuse convictions a year, according to the Department of Public Safety. Only newly convicted offenders will have to register.

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