[Adopted 5-10-2011 by L.L. No. 26-2011]
Editor's Note: This local law was vetoed by the County Executive 6-9-2011, which veto was overridden by the County Legislature 6-21-2011.
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that animal cruelty is a serious problem, resulting in the abuse of thousands of animals each year in the United States. This Legislature also finds and determines that Suffolk County is taking a leading role in protecting animals from abuse by creating an online registry containing identifying information of persons convicted of animal abuse crimes. This Legislature further finds and determines that people who have abused animals in the past are likely to do so in the future, with one-hundred-percent recidivism rates for certain types of abuse. This Legislature finds that animals in need of homes should be protected from potential abusers. This Legislature determines that persons listed on the Animal Abuser Registry should not be eligible to purchase or adopt any animal in Suffolk County for a period of five years. This Legislature also finds that by creating an Animal Abuser Registry, Suffolk County has provided local animal shelters and pet dealers with access to important information about potential clients. This Legislature finds that pet stores, pet dealers, breeders, animal shelters, and concerned members of the public will be able to sign up for e-mail notifications on updates and additions to the Animal Abuse Registry. This Legislature further finds that pet stores, pet dealers, breeders, and animal shelters should check the names of potential purchasers or adopters against the County's Animal Abuser Registry, to prevent animal abusers from purchasing or adopting potential victims.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to prohibit pet stores, pet dealers, breeders, and animal shelters from making sales or allowing adoptions of animals to persons appearing on the Animal Abuser Registry.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any live mammal, bird, or reptile, but shall not include
feeder animals.[Amended 9-15-2011 by L.L. No. 50-2011]
- ANIMAL SHELTER
- Any public or privately owned organization in Suffolk County which maintains property, buildings or structures for the purpose of harboring animals which may be stray, unwanted, lost, abandoned or abused and seeks to find appropriate permanent homes for such animals. For the purpose of this article, the term "animal shelter" shall not apply to a facility commonly known as a "boarding kennel," where the ownership of the animal is not transferred; a facility commonly known as a "pet store," where animals are offered for sale as all or part of a business; an animal hospital owned, operated or supervised by a licensed veterinarian; or a facility where the owner or operator is licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a nuisance wildlife control agent or wildlife rehabilitator.
- Any person who breeds nine or more animals per year.
- FEEDER ANIMAL
- Any animal sold to be used as food for other animals. This definition shall include, but not be limited to, mice, chicks and crickets.
- Any natural individual.
- PET DEALER
- Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company or other entity who or which sells or offer for sale more than nine animals in any given calendar year. This definition shall include pet stores, as defined in this article, and breeders who sell or offer to sell directly to the consumer animals born and raised on the breeder's residential premises.
- PET STORE
- Any facility of an individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company or other entity who or which offers animals for sale as all or part of a business.
Any person seeking to purchase or adopt an animal in Suffolk County shall provide an animal shelter or pet dealer with a photographic identification prior to purchase.
Any animal shelter or pet dealer operating in Suffolk County shall check the name and likeness of any person seeking to purchase or adopt an animal against the Animal Abuser Registry.
No animal shelter or pet dealer operating in Suffolk County shall knowingly sell, offer, deliver or provide an animal to any person registered on the Suffolk County Animal Abuser Registry.
Any animal shelter or pet dealer who violates this article shall be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of $500 for any first offense. A second violation of this article shall be a violation and subject to a fine of $1,000. A third or subsequent violation of this article shall be a violation and subject to a fine of $1,500.
This article shall apply to all actions occurring on or after the effective date of this article.
This article shall take effect on the 120th day following its filing in the Office of the Secretary of State.