“This is a Christmas present not only to New York City animals, but animals in all of the areas that will now move forward with similar registries,” Vallone said after the December 19th vote. “Abusers are now on a short leash, and this registry will help prevent them from being able to torture another animal.”
The approval comes just months after the NYPD officially took the reigns in responding to animal abuse calls in the Bronx from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the organization that has until now been primarily responsible for escalation of complaints (and continues to be in the other four boroughs).
Steven Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), was pleased with the unanimous decision to create the registry.
In a statement released on the following day, Wells explained that Vallone became an active proponent for a registry in the city after a bodybuilder, Milan Rysa, threw his own dog out the window of his Astoria apartment.
“Vallone wanted to ensure something like this could never happen again,” Wells said.
The city joins four New York State counties that have already established registries, and Wells said that this move would help convince other areas that might be considering registries to jump on the bandwagon.
“ALDF offered start-up grants to establish state-level registries in Michigan, Texas, and Arizona this year—and offered to donate $10,000 to offset the costs of establishing a registry in New York City—which has just become the largest jurisdiction in the nation to protect its citizens with an animal abuser registry,” Wells said.
While creation of an animal abuser registry in New York City will be Vallone’s last piece of legislation before term limits force him from the City Council, NYCLASS Director Allie Feldman says animal advocates are not without friends in the legislative body.
“Ms. [Melissa] Mark-Viverito has fought for animal rights throughout her time on the Council, and was a prime sponsor of legislation that would phase out horse-drawn carriages in New York City, replacing them with vintage electric cars,” Feldman said. “She is a true animal hero, and we look forward to working with Speaker Mark-Viverito and Mayor de Blasio as we move toward a humane and vibrant future for all New Yorkers, two-legged and four-legged alike.”