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State Registry for Animal Abusers

posted Feb 22, 2010, 4:03 PM by Angela G

Below is the story, you can go to to sign a petition an read more!

Should animal abusers be registered like sex offenders?

California may soon place animal abusers on the same level as sex offenders by listing them in an online registry, complete with their home addresses and places of employment.

On Friday, State Senator Dean Florez (D) announced a bill for a statewide registry in California, which follows in the footsteps of our state's newly passed protections for chickens, pigs and cattle. Similar bills have already been introduced in Rhode Island, Colorado and Tennessee, but, to date, have not passed.

The proposed bill, drafted with help from the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), would require any person convicted of a felony involving animal cruelty to register with the police and provide a range of personal information along with a current photograph. This information and the person's specific offense would then be posted online. The website already offers a limited type of online registry, with listings of animal offenders and their crimes.

Last fall, California became the first state to outlaw tail-docking of dairy cows, where the tail is partly amputated to ease the milking process. In 2008, we also passed Proposition 2, which gave hens, calves and pigs more room in their crates or cages. (This controversial law made some agriculturally minded residents hot enough under the collar to threaten to secede from the state.)

Meanwhile ALDF has launched a new campaign, to help all states establish public animal abuser registries. The ALDF hopes such registries would protect animals, pet guardians and communities by preventing repeat offenses from anyone with a known history of abusing animals. This could include violence (torture, mutilation, intentional killings), sexual abuse and animal fighting as well as neglect (such as hoarding). enables the public to contact their state lawmakers and urge them to propose legislation for the creation of state registries. Visitors to the website can also watch a short video (above) that outlines the benefits of such registries (i.e. preventing new cases of animal abuse and creating safer communities). At 10:30 a.m. (PST) this morning, Senator Florez's live press conference will be available for viewing here.

ALDF is promoting the registry not only as a way to notify the public but also as a possible early warning system for other crimes. "We know there's a link between those who abuse animals and those who perform other forms of violence," says Stephan Otto, the group's director of legislative affairs.

In addition to sex offenders, California currently lists arsonists in an online registry. Animal abusers would be listed on a similar site. Supporters say that such a registry could also be valuable in tracking people who run puppy mills and animal-fighting rings.

"A lot of times these people will just pick up and move to another jurisdiction or another state if they get caught," says Gillian Deegan, an attorney who has written on animal welfare laws. "It would definitely help on those types of cases where people jump around."

Senator Florez says he is confident that he has the votes needed to move the measure forward and estimates that the registry would cost less than $1 million to establish.