Of course it had to come to this! The placing of those people found guilty of animal abuse into a web registry.
All those ads showing beaten, abandoned and ill animals had to resonate into some more definitive action to satisfy activists other than the usual legal procedures that entailed an accusation followed by a possible trial or plea with a resultant punishment of fine, imprisonment, probation, community service or, if the accused is innocent, acquittal.
Erie County was considering such a proposal. People charged as animal abusers would have their pictures and addresses listed upon a public web registry for all to view. The offenders would be charged a maintenance for this, initially $50 a year but likely to increase with time. Also, those that sell of give an animal to a registered offender are subject to a $1,000 fine.
This includes pet shop owners, breeders, those that run "free to good homes" ads in the local paper or just about anyone that deals with another regarding an animal. Now for those found guilty of abuse, do you realize what the ramifications of such charges would be against them? To all those persons that had found their pets burdensome, costly and unwanted, who rid of them using their own methods because they were either impoverished or too ignorant to know otherwise would find themselves on the registry.
How about those who had an inordinate compassion for the companionship of creatures and unintentionally found themselves overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of them? Hoarders are what they're labeled as, and they could also be brought up for abuse.
Think of someone you know? Your own family? A friend? How would babcia, abuela, nonna handle having their pictures and addresses on the registry? How would they handle the late night, anonymous phone calls from some malicious simpleton? Even a strong person would despair of living a normal life under those conditions. I trust our County Legislature, if confronted with a similar proposal, will weigh all sides.
Ralph Burke is a Dunkirk resident.