This week, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to treat animal abusers similarly to how sexual abusers are treated; they are going on a registry.
The registry will include anyone who has been convicted of committing an abuse crime against a “companion” or “non-livestock” animal. It’s still more or less legal to abuse livestock, unfortunately. The law will apply to aggregated cruelty, which includes dog fighting and other criminal offenses against domestic animals.
Unlike the sex offender registry, people’s names only stay on the animal abuse registry for two years, as long as they aren’t convicted again. If they are, another five years.
There are no names on the list yet, but it will look like this, with name, date of birth, address, county and the expiration date, along with a picture.
Erie County, New York is also considering a similar registry, only it would keep people from adopting for five years. Their registry also includes horses.
The proposed law – described by some animal rights activists as too tough, and by others as too lax – has languished in a legislative committee. Former Democratic Legislator Terrence McCracken introduced the measure three years ago, and fellow Democrat Patrick Burke reintroduced it. The Niagara County Legislature adopted a similar registry law in October.
‘Our neighbors have passed this legislation,’ he said. ‘And some of the concerns raised at the original hearing with the original law have been adjusted.’
Originally pushed by McCracken in 2012 with majority support, the proposed law drew support from many animal rights activists and rescue volunteers but criticism from farmers and pet store owners. It was revised the following year to exclude fish and other aquatic life as well as all farm animals except horses.
Source: Buffalo News
It’s likely that the exclusion of all farm animals was the reason the Tennessee law passed at all.
Featured image via Flickr.