In setting a precedent for other states, the legislators of Tennessee have decided that there are to be more certain consequences for harming animals. They decided that if somebody harms an animal they are going to pay for it. This is the best news that I’ve heard for quite a long time. Tennessee is one of the top tier states for animal welfare.
And it is news that is bound to delight millions of animal and cat lovers in the USA and other countries. In an American first of its kind, Tennessee’s animal abuse registry will come into effect on January 1, 2016. It will be available to the public. I’m told that cities like New York and some counties in the USA do have animal abuse registries but Tennessee’s will be the first one which is statewide. Although, other states are planning to follow Tennessee’s lead quite soon. However, is not clear whether the legislation in other states will allow full public access; access may be limited to law enforcement and shelters et cetera.
The registry will be accessible online in two months! Fantastic. It will contain details of animal abusers within the state of Tennessee who have been convicted of serious animal abuse. The phrase ‘serious animal abuse’ indicates, worryingly, that only serious cases will be recorded.
The legislation which brings the registry into existence is the Tenancy Animal Abuser Registration Act. Senator Jeff Yarbo sponsored the bill and it is nice to know that a politician is so passionate about animal welfare. He said:
“We proposed this law not just to take a stand against animal cruelty, but to take concrete action to prevent abuse and deter those who repeatedly engage in the torture and killing of animals.”
Convicted animal abusers will remain on the animal abuse registry for minimum two years. A nice aspect of the registry is that a photograph of the abuser will also be posted as part of the details. Should there be a subsequent conviction by the abuser the information will remain on the registry for an additional five years.
When you read cat news stories as I do regularly you notice that a significant section of the news is about animal abuse. Sadly, it is one aspect of the day-to-day cat news that one reads. It is a significant part of animal welfare. An animal abuse registry will make abusers accountable and it will take some of the heat off animal advocates who are compelled to persistently lobby law enforcers and post information about abuses online in order to try and get something done about it. It’s great news that law enforcement will now be taking greater responsibility for exposing and punishing animal abuse which, it appears, frequently goes unpunished.
There are people who are unconvinced about the usefulness of an animal abuse registry; one of whom appears to be the president of the Humane Society of the United States, who said:
“Shaming animal abusers with a public Internet profile is unlikely to affect their future behaviour – except perhaps to isolate them further from society and promote increased distrust of authority figures trying to help them.”
I am afraid that I disagree with him completely. There is no better way to protect animals than through a properly managed animal abuse registry and to name and shame these horrible abusers. To make the registry fully public and online is a wonderful aspect of Tennessee’s new registry. This is another way for animal shelters to ensure that their animals go to a good home. There will be many other advantages such as detecting and recording earlier instances of deviant behavior which can lead to violence against people. The FBI is also rating animal abuse as more important.
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Source: The Inquisitor (no link because the page is almost impossible to visit.