Animal abuse is an ongoing problem across the U.S. It is so bad that several states have proposed putting in place a registry of animal abusers. The intent would be to stop such abusers from buying or adopting pets in the future. And while Tennessee is currently the only state to have an active statewide animal abuse registry, soon, Illinois might be joining its ranks.
Here is more on this potentially lifesaving legislative proposal.
Creating an online registry
It all started in Cook County, Illinois, where the city of Chicago is located. County lawmakers had passed a bill back in 2016 that created an online registry that kept track of individuals with an animal abuse conviction. Sadly, the registry was never used, as judges never directed offenders to register. Now, Illinois Senator Tom Cullerton wants to introduce a similar bill that would be effective statewide.
What the bill would do
The new bill, if passed, would prohibit convicted animal abusers that live in the state of Illinois from purchasing or adopting a pet for anywhere from seven to 10 years. The database created by the bill would allow shelters, groups, and stores to search it to find out if a positional adopter or buyer has a past of animal abuse. Cullerton plans on introducing the next legislative session in January.
“I just don’t want these animals to get in the wrong people’s hands,” Cullerton said, “and if you have a history of violence against animals, you shouldn’t be able to just walk into a pet store and pick out another animal you’re going to abuse, because you have something wrong with you.”
Cullerton plans to resubmit the bill in January 2020
Once in place, the police would input the names of any individuals with animal abuse offenses to the registry and then the registry would list the offenders for anyone using the registry to find. Hopefully, this would keep animal abusers from getting access to further victims for their abuse.
“Once you’re convicted, that information will go to the state police and they’ll put it right up on the registry,” Cullerton said, “and we will try to offset that by whoever is convicted will also have to pay a fee that will offset the cost of the registry as well.”
Problems with registries
According to some registry critics, such registries only keep animal abusers from obtaining animals from shelters, animal rescues, and pet stores. An abuser can still purchase a pet from a breeder or re-homing site. This means animals are not totally protected from animal abuse. Still, it’s a start and could lead to less animal abuse on a state level.
Rhode Island is another state that plans on using an animal abusers registry in the future to restrict animal purchase or adoption by convicted animal abusers. In the case of the Rhode Island bill, animal abusers would be prohibited from owning an animal for at least 15 years.
What to do if you notice animal abuse or neglect
If you notice an animal suffering from abuse or neglect, report it to your local police department, ASPCA, or Humane Society. Only by reporting such activity can you hope to stop it. Coupled with animal abuse registries, hopefully such abuse can be stopped in the future.
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