EXPOSE ALL ANIMAL ABUSERS - Support National Animal Abuser Registries
Does an Animal Abuser Live in Your Neighborhood?
Our communities have good reason to be concerned about the whereabouts of animal abusers. We hear story after heartbreaking story, about animal abusers repeating their violent crimes against helpless animals, and often go on to victimize people as well.
We have the right to want to keep our animals and families safe.
Currently, there are three animal abuse registries in the United States, all of them in New York state, although registries have been proposed in other states and regions. In 2010, Suffolk Country became the first place in the country to create a registry—protect those Hamptons polo ponies! Rockland and Albany counties followed. Two bills that are currently before the state assembly—S. 3804 and A. 1506—are also seeking to create animal abuse registries that would apply to the entire state.
Mandatory registration for convicted animal abusers would aid dramatically in keeping offenders away from potential new victims by alerting law enforcement and the public to their whereabouts, and by allowing animal shelters to thoroughly screen potential adopters for criminal offenders. This in turn would reduce the enormous cost burdens our shelters face in caring for these animal victims.
Several states and one county have already proposed or passed legislation creating animal abuser registries for their jurisdictions.
But, since there is currently no national animal abuser registry, Internet-based alternatives to a national database have appeared.
This Part explores the justifications for creating animal abuser registries,
analyzes state and county animal abuser registry legislation, and considers the strengths and weaknesses of independently created animal abuser databases on the Internet.
A. Justifications for Creating a National Animal Abuser Registry
Despite the difficulties with creating state and national criminal offender registries, there are still benefits to implementing a national animal abuser registry.
For instance, there is a proven relationship between animal abuse and other forms of violence.
A national animal abuser registry could prevent abuse against humans and animals and could help close loopholes that allow animal abusers to mistreat their victims.
A registry could also provide a mechanism to collect research data and better inform law enforcement and animal welfare organizations about animal abuse.
Finally, the value of animals to human life, through their utility or the human-animal bond, is reason enough to stop animal suffering through a national animal abuser registry.
The Link between the Abuse of Animals and Violence towards Humans...
One of the reasons for creating an animal abuser registry at any governmental level is the relationship between animal abuse and other forms of violence.
It is well established that animal abuse is related to antisocial behavior and crime.
Animal abuse can also be a predictor of crime.
Many inmates have a history of animal abuse, and it is a potential warning sign of
later violent behavior.
Studies also show an association between the abuse of animals during childhood and violence against people when the child becomes an adult.
A national animal abuser registry would close two information
loopholes that allow animal abusers to continue their cruel behavior.
First, a national registry would alleviate the information deficit for individuals and organizations attempting to track animal abusers across
states. Second, a national registry would help discourage animal abusers from selling animals over the Internet, a currently unregulated
Currently there is no uniform tracking system for animal abusers.
A national animal abuse registry would help track animal abusers across the United States and any Nation that can create this system.
An ideal national animal abuser registry would provide integrated, easily accessible information about animal abusers from all states. It would give animal welfare organizations, law enforcement agencies, researchers, and the public a single place to search for abusers rather than a number of discrete state databases, much like the
Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website has integrated state sex offender registries.
A national registry that included information from all states would minimize the risk of losing track of abusers when they move from state to state.
In order to track offenders and prevent further abuse, it is essential to establish a national standardized animal abuser registry.
In addition to including cases where an abuser was convicted of a felony or misdemeanor under state animal cruelty laws, a national animal abuser registry should include cases reported in the media that did not result in criminal charges.
For example, only a small number of animal abuse cases result in charges, and more cases are reported than generate convictions.
A national animal abuser registry should include detailed information about each abuser. This data would help agencies and organizations track animal abusers. It would also provide a demographic picture of animal abusers, and might even show that there are different demographic trends for different crimes.
Most importantly, knowing the demographics of animal abusers can inform the programs
and services law enforcement uses to respond to animal abuse.
An advantage of starting a registry at the national level is that information would be consistent. The information included in both sex offender and child abuse registries differs from state to state.
The proposed state animal abuser registries have also differed as to what identifying information they require of each registrant.
This inconsistency would create confusion when searching and inputting data for
abusers, and would make uniform data collection for research nearly
impossible. Legislation for an animal abuser registry at the national
level must establish clear guidelines as to the information to be included in the registry. Central oversight would also mean consistent policies on who can access the animal abuser database and how much time an abuser must be listed on the registry.
A national animal abuser registry should include all applicable identifying information on an animal abuser. This includes the abuser’s legal name and aliases, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, gender, race, current address, place of employment, parole officer, information about whether minors live with the
abuser, a photograph, fingerprints, and descriptions of any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks. The animal abuser registry should also include the animal abuse offense for which the person was convicted or suspected and the date and place in which the offense occurred.