Tennessee Will Be the First to Start a Statewide Animal Abuse Registry
In less than two months, Tennessee will be the first state in the union to release an animal abuse registry that is accessible by the public – much like sexual offending registries. This spring, the Tennessee Animal Abuser Registration Act was signed, which will display offenders’ information online for two years for their first offense and five years for additional offenses. State Senator Jeff Yarbro (D), who sponsored the bill, told Huffington Post:
“We proposed this law not just to take a stand against animal cruelty, but to take concrete action to prevent abuse and deter those who repeatedly engage in the torture and killing of animals.”
Not only can the general public be aware of who is committing crimes against domesticated animals, but shelters and agencies (or individuals) looking to rehome, foster, or adopt out animals can search the registry to help rule out dogs and cats going to unsafe homes. Scott Heiser of the Animal Legal Defense Fund is in support of the registry, yet other reputable organizations are skeptical of its effectiveness.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, is concerned whether the use of resources could be better served elsewhere, such as ramping up law enforcement of animal cruelty laws or providing mental healthcare. He also wonders if a registry could do more harm than good in a 2010 blog post:
“Shaming [animal abusers] with a public Internet profile is unlikely to affect their future behavior — except perhaps to isolate them further from society and promote increased distrust of authority figures trying to help them.”
What are your thoughts on a statewide (or even nationwide) registry for convicted animal abusers?
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