25 States Considering Online Animal Abuser Registries
Lansing, MI – The Animal Legal Defense Fund is leading the campaign for online registries to list convicted animal abusers. Three New York counties, which have already approved the registries, will be the first in the nation to utilize them beginning May 7. Twenty-five states in total have been considering similar laws since 2010.
Cotati, of the California based Legal Defense Fund, says a few of the other states considering similar bills include California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas.
The bills being introduced throughout the country are meant to put animal abusers up for public scorn as well as notify the public of those involved in animal abuse/neglect.
Many backers of this legislation claim the bills recognize a growing awareness of animal rights, as well as the public safety benefits of stopping abusers. Many feel stopping animal abusers early is key as many studies have shown that animal abusers often go on to harming humans.
Representative Harvey Santana, of Michigan, says “There’s a mountain of evidence that says we need something like this. There is a strong correlation between people who abuse animals and graduate to abusing people.”
According to a 1997 study done by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA, a person who abuses or kills animals is five time more likely to commit violence against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes. Serial killers who have abused or killed animals include the Boston strangler Albert Desalvo, ‘Son of Sam’ David Berkowitz and Carroll Edward Cole.
Stephen Wells, executive director of the fund, says “It’s frustrating to see repeat offenders commit these crimes and get away with it in the people’s eyes. The registries appeal to people’s common sense.”
Not all animal rights organizations agree or support the initiative.
According to Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the U.S., tracking abuse in FBI data would do more to prevent it. Pacelle continued by saying that many people involved in neglecting animals are mentally ill. “Shaming them with a public internet profile is unlikely to affect their future behavior,” says Pacelle. He believes it will only “isolate them further from society and promote increased distrust of the authority figures trying to help them.”
Stephanie Bell, associate director of cruelty investigations for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says PETA supports the use of registries stating “community members have a right to know when a convicted animal abuser is in their midst. People who abuse animals rarely do so only once.”
Roy Gross, head of Suffolk County’s SPCA, administer of Suffolk Country’s registry, says “If you had a convicted animal abuser next to you, wouldn’t you want to know?”
I do realise that this (if anyone in the general public can get the information) could cause problems for people with mental conditions, but it might also force some to get help. It might also prevent someone from hurting animals or people.
I think that we need to do something, whether it be the FBI tracking or some kind of notification to the public. I want to know that my pets are safe as well as knowing if my neighbors have a history of abuse of any kind.
Maybe they do not have to go so far as to make the records 100% public, maybe make it available to local law enforcement and fire departments? That way if a complain or questionable action happens (pets start to go missing for example) the police know where to maybe start to look?
I do think that they need to have a system for local shelters so that people who have abused in the past can not go adopt there. From there letting local law enforcement know would be easy and responsible.