FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. — Designed along the lines of the law that established a sex offenders registry, county officials on Long Island are creating the nation’s first animal abuse registry in an attempt to prevent criminals from inflicting more cruelty — or move on to human victims.
The proposal in Suffolk County would require people convicted of cruelty to animals to register or face jail time and fines.
“We know there is a very strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence,’’ said Suffolk County legislator Jon Cooper, the bill’s sponsor. “Almost every serial killer starts out by torturing animals, so in a strange sense we could end up protecting the lives of people.’’
The online list will be open to the public so that pet owners or the merely curious can find out whether someone living near them is on it.
Some animal abusers have been known to steal their neighbors’ pets.
Cooper is also pushing legislation that would bar anyone on the registry from buying or adopting a pet from a shelter, pet shop, or breeder.