Just like sex abusers, animal abusers now need to register in some States as the number of the animals that are being abused have continued to grow.
Several United States jurisdictions have implemented an animal offenders registry, which is similar to how sex offenders are registered that will publicly reveal the names of known animal abusers in the area. The new law is growing in popularity across the country to protect dogs, cats, and other pets.
Currently, Tennessee is the only place to implement a statewide registry. The state’s registry can be accessed at any local office and is currently monitored by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations. However, other countries, such as Suffolk County in New York, Hillsborough Country in Florida and Cook County in Illinois, are have set up localized animal offender registries. Other states such as Texas, Connecticut, and Washington are setting up similar initiatives.
The animal abuser registries help police identify convicted animal abusers who are involved in new allegations of abuse, and for shelters and adoption centers to screen out convicted animal abusers who may be trying to adopt an animal. Access to this information is crucial in keeping companion animals out of the hands of potential abusers.
A person on the registry will be identified as a known abuser, including name, date of birth, offense, conviction date, and expiration date. First-time abusers will stay on the registry for two years and additional offenses earn them five years after the expiration date for every offense after the original.
The registry will also include a photo and any aliases the person goes by if they’re 18 years or older, and if an animal abuser doesn’t register, they could face a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
“We know there is a very strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence,” Jon Cooper, Suffolk County legislator, told Shared.com. “Almost every serial killer starts out by torturing animals, so in a strange sense we could end up protecting the lives of people.”