This is a victory for every animal lover and the tormented pets all over the country. There is a movement happening across the country, where more and more people are calling for people guilty of animal abuse to be held responsible and identified through a registry, much like sex offenders. This measure is instrumental in allowing pet shops, vets, people looking for dog walkers, and more to know that theses animals will be safe.
Ending Animal Abuse In America
While this is a very heated topic across the country, currently Tennessee is the only state that has a statewide animal abuse registry, but other parts of the country have them at a local level. New York city, Cook County, Illinois, and Tampa Bay, Florida all have city-wide registries for people charged with animal abuse.
But word is spreading, and similar initiatives are being proposed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas and Washington .
The Tennessee registry is monitored by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, and if you wish to access the registry you can at the TBI or any local county office. Each abuser will have their name, date of birth, offense, conviction date, and expiration date available to the public .
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Anyone convicted of animal abuse will have to pay a $50 registration fine. All abusers 18 or older must give a recent photo as well as any aliases they go by. If they fail to register, they will face a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 .
Suffolk County, located on the eastern end of Long Island, was the first in the country to develop an animal abuse registry.
“We know there is a very strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence,” said Suffolk County legislator Jon Cooper, the bill’s sponsor. “Almost every serial killer starts out by torturing animals, so in a strange sense we could end up protecting the lives of people.”
Research in psychology and criminology show that acts of animal abuse are not just indications of a minor personality flaw in the abuser; they are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance .
The Goal Of The Registry
Ultimately, the goal of this initiative is to bring a stop to animal abuse. But a major part of stopping animal abuse from occurring in the first place is through proper education of how to treat and care for animals.
The registry is also there to help protect innocent animals from any possible abuse in the future. People looking for pet-sitters, dog walkers, etc can now have peace of mind that their loved ones are in good hands. Pet shops and shelters can use this resource to ensure that these animals are going to good home where they will be cared for and loved.
Reporting Animal Abuse
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, has some simple guidelines on how to report any suspected animal abuse. Gather the following information before reporting animal cruelty :
- A concise, written, factual statement of what you observed—giving dates and approximate times whenever possible—to provide to law enforcement.
- Photographs of the location, the animals in question and the surrounding area. Note: do not put yourself in danger! Do not enter another person’s property without permission, and exercise great caution around unfamiliar animals who may be frightened or in pain.
- If you can, provide law enforcement with the names and contact information of other people who have firsthand information about the abusive situation.
- It is possible to file an anonymous report, but please consider providing your information. The case is more likely to be pursued when there are credible witnesses willing to stand behind the report and, if necessary, testify in court.
Not sure where to report animal abuse in your area? The first step is to find out who is responsible for investigating and enforcing the anti-cruelty codes in your town, county and/or state, such as the local humane organization, animal control agency, taxpayer-funded animal shelter or police precinct. If you have trouble finding the correct agency to contact, call or visit your local police department or your local shelter or animal control agency for assistance .
Let’s help protect our furry friends by looking out for them as much as they look out for us. Just because they don’t have a voice to speak, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be heard.
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