Photo identification now required when purchasing pets

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Volunteer Garrette Glinton of Southampton pets Tucker, a 1- year-old Boxer/Aussie Shepherd mix, at an 'Adoption Day' at the PETCO store in Riverhead.

The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved a new law Tuesday requiring pet stores, breeders and animal shelters to check the county’s animal abuse registry prior to allowing the purchase or adoption of animals to prospective pet owners.

Under the new law, sponsored by Legislator Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor), photo identification will now be required in order to check if a prospective pet owner is a convicted animal abuser. Exempt from the law is if a prospective buyer is purchasing feeder animals, which are typically meal worms, crickets or mice for pets.

“I’m thrilled that my colleagues joined me in giving my animal abuser registry law some real teeth with the adoption of this companion bill,” Mr. Cooper said in a press release. “This will go a long way towards keeping new victims out of the hands of disturbed individuals who derive pleasure from the suffering of innocent animals.”

Penalties for any business or agency in violation of the new law could face a $500 fine for the first offense, $1,000 for the second offense and $1,500 for all subsequent offenses, county officials said.

The county was the first municipality in the nation to create such a list to shame abusers and prevent them from adopting animals.

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