Like the registry for sex offenders, a new registry for pet abuse has been proposed by local governments. If passed, all people convicted of animal abuse would be required to register and be placed in the database to avoid a fine or jail time.
Individuals teamed up with legislators and advocacy groups to push for the new legislation. To help protect our pets and our neighbor’s pets, the database would give residents information as to where those convicted of animal abuse crimes reside.
Should the legislation pass, Suffolk County, New York would be the first area in the U.S. to begin registering animal abusers and put them into a database. Pet owners and animal lovers in general need to contact their legislators and emphasize the importance of these animal registries. If more states followed Suffolk County’s decision in passing this legislation, we could maintain a national registry to make neighborhood residents more aware of where the offenders reside. When a larger number of people in the nation stand up against pet abuse, we will become part of a solution to the high number of cases of reported animal abuse turned in each day. Like child abuse, these are only the cases that are reported to authorities in our area.
To help protect pets, contact your state legislators through the website www.senate.gov. Contact local legislators at www.usa.gov and let them know how this legislation can help others know when there is an animal cruelty offender in your neighborhood. You might save the life of an unprotected pet.
As it stands now, laws vary with each state when it comes to pet abuse. The fines run from $5,000 to $500,000 in the state of Colorado. Colorado passed a bill in 2002 that provides for mandatory reporting of animal cruelty by veterinarians. The law specifically makes it illegal for anyone to engage in a sexual act with an animal. The Colorado residents also voted to add crimes against animals as a form of domestic violence, where judges are allowed to issue protection orders as they would against someone who has been violent against their domestic partner. It is mandatory for offenders who have been convicted of felony animal cruelty to be genetically tested.
Most states issue a fine of $5,000 to $10,000 for a convicted animal abuser. The majority of states list this fine and a jail term that varies state by state in length of time served, including all animals. A few states divide animals into categories, such as livestock, game, furbearing animals, reptiles or amphibians. Often, the abuse of these animals are not included in the sentencing.
Check with your state legislators and find out local laws. Together, we can make a difference. The abuse of animals, not only domestic animals, needs to stop. We are overrun with cases reported each day, filling our shelters with those pets that have been abused and often, they can not find homes quick enough for these animals. Many have to be euthanized due to the ineligibility of adoption.
If your state doesn’t have laws that uphold accountability for those who abuse animals, it’s time we speak out.