Pennsylvania’s Rep. Carroll has co-sponsored a bill that would require people who abuse animals to register as ‘animal abusers’ (HB 265). This bill would require animal abusers to register with their county sheriff’s office and for the next 15 years, report to them once a year. Abusers would also have to inform animal shelters, humane societies, and schools within a half-mile of their home about their past infractions.
HB-265 would also establish a state police-run registry of animal abusers that will be publicly searchable, and anyone on that list would not be allowed to own a pet for 15 years. The registry’s information would come from district attorney’s offices around the state. HB-265 is similar to the Animal Defense Legal Fund’s efforts to establish a national animal abuse registry, which they started late last year.
The bill is currently sitting in the Judiciary Committee, where it has until November to get some traction. However, Rep. Carroll says that it has seen widespread bipartisan support.
Some people may wonder why this is an important bill. Studies suggest that animal abuse is often the first sign of serious personality problems among adolescent and adult killers. Studies indicate that troubled children, especially those who have been physically abused or exposed or suffer domestic violence are at a higher risk. Studies have shown that up to 60% of those children have abused animals.
From 10 – 20% of children at mental health clinics have abused animals. One in four children who suffer from conduct disorder has abused animals.
Having a registry of people who abuse animals may be one of the first ways to help children who are at a high risk of developing other problems later in life.
And it goes without saying that abusing trusting, harmless animals is not something anyone would like to see. Therefore this bill could be a win/win for everyone involved.