Will Animal Abuser Registries Catch On?

A boy and his dog

Update Oct. 12, 2010: None of the  bills reported below passed during the past legislative sessions.

Original report May 10, 2010: While the California legislature considers a bill to create a registry for animal abusers, similar bills have been introduced in other states:

In fact, a bill to track animal abusers has been introduced in Tennessee the past two sessions. During the 2009-2010 session, state Rep. Janis Sontany introduced the Tennessee Animal Abuser Registration, Tracking and Verification Act, H.B. 385  The Senate version, S.B. 182, was introduced by state Sen. Doug Jackson.

A bill was introduced in the New York legislature in March, AB 10387, that would require the Commissioner of Agriculture and the sheriff of each county to maintain a registry of adult animal abusers, persons over 18 years of age who have been convicted of a felony violation of an animal protection law, offenses against service animals or animals used to aid people with disabilities, or injuring or killing a police animal in New York state or elsewhere.  The registry would apply to those convicted of felony cruelty to farm animals.

Adults convicted of these crimes would be required to register in person within 10 days of a conviction or moving to the state or county and then annually for 15 years. Failure to do so would be a felony. The court would also be required to certify a convicted person is an animal abuser and notify the registry.

A county sheriff would be required to notify every residence, school, business, humane society and shelter within a ½ mile radius of the abuser’s residence of his or her presence. The information must then be made available to the public on the internet or through telephone, in person or written requests.  

Assembly Member Joan Millman is the bill’s sponsor.

Under Louisiana’s bill, H.B. 201, the registry would track fewer adult animal abusers, only those convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals, dog fighting, cock fighting, hog dog fighting and sport killing of zoo or circus animals. 

The state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information would maintain the registry.

Louisiana state Rep. Walker Hines is the sponsor.