MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello said he’s happy to see that the Animal Abuse Registry, which was adopted into county law in 2018, is now beginning to take shape.
Borrello spoke with WNYNewsNow Tuesday morning, providing his reaction as Robert Overton, Jr., of Jamestown, will become the first member of the Animal Abuse Registry upon the completion of his incarceration.
“I’m glad to see (the registry) is working, I wish we never had to have anyone be on the registry because that would mean people aren’t abusing animals,” Borrello said. “But, since we do have an environment where that occurs, I’m glad that we’re able to now, after this guy (Overton) serves his sentence, he’ll now be on this list and no longer be eligible to adopt an animal or buy an animal as a pet.”
Borrello said that he believes that the laws regarding animal abuse need to be changed and strengthened.
“I agree with Patrick. I think the Ag and Market Law needs to be updated. They need to have more severe penalties for people that are animal abusers, and people who do egregious things,” Borrello said. “We aren’t looking to harm people, but at the same time, we want the law to reflect the harshness of the crime and, hopefully, as a result, be preventative.”
Borrello said with the Overton case, specifically, that the sentence is just a start, but doesn’t reflect the crime.
“I think the sentence is something, but what he did was so intentional, and so horrific and so egregious, that the laws should match the severity of the crime,” Borrello said. “Under the current Ag and Market laws, I don’t think it does.”
The county’s top official said he’s previously talked with State Senator Cathy Young and State Assemblyman Andy Goodell about his concerns regarding the current state laws dealing with animal abuse. He added that he wants to continue those talks.
“I think that’s something we’ve spoken out in the past, and I certainly want to take up that conversation again,” Borrello said. “We should talk about what we can do to strengthen the law, as a preventative measure. People have to feel that there’s consequences to a crime, and hopefully they won’t make those same mistakes twice.