An Animal Cruelty Offender Registry in Maryland?

In a brilliantly progressive attempt at curbing animal cruelty, Maryland Senator Ron Young has introduced a bill to create the equivalent of the sex offender registry, but for those convicted of animal abuse.  The bill seeks to create a record of repeat offenders, to identify those with tendencies for violence, to prevent convicted animal abusers from purchasing or adopting new animals, and to inform the community to not allow pets to roam free.

The Animal Abuse Registry is coined “Heidi’s Law” in honor of a young pup who was shot while playing in a field on her own farm.  Heidi’s owner Lynette, from Frederick County Maryland, traveled to Annapolis to support Senator Ron Young as he planned to introduce the bill.  Just this month Lynette searched her property when Heidi did not return, only to find her tiny body in the field riddled with bullets from a small caliber handgun. Continue reading

Animal Abuser Registry Laws: NY is First, but Shouldn’t all States Jump on the Bandwagon?

Ally Bernstein

Last month, with a unanimous vote by the Legislature, Albany County became the third county in New York, and the Nation, to require persons convicted of misdemeanor or felony animal cruelty charges to register on the animal abuse registry. According to “Local Law K,” first time offenders will remain on the registry for 10 years and second time offenders will remain there for life and will be prohibited from owning an animal while on the registry. Other provisions of the law will subject offenders to fines and and other punishments for failure to comply.

    According to the Albany Times Union, the laws passed were followed by enthusiastic applause from the legislatures, apparently an “unusual move” after new laws are passed. Lead sponsor, Bryan Clenahan stated, “We know that animal abusers are the same people who commit violent acts toward children and other innocent victims in our community. By taking a stronger approach to animal abuse, we are working to create a safer, more peaceful community for pets and people alike.” Interestingly, this statement reflects that the law was created in order to further the protection of the children and other innocent victims, based on the correlations related to animal abuse and abuse to humans. However, whatever the case may be for why the laws were adopted, they are a major step in the prevention of animal abuse. Continue reading

Money Talks When Animals and (Some) People Cannot

Bridget Crawford

 The New York Times reported earlier this week  (here) on state legislation under consideration in three jurisdictions.  The proposed laws would allow courts to prohibit animal abusers from having pets in the future.  According to the NYT, 27 states now have similar laws. 

 Animal lawyers and law scholars long have acknowledged the connection between animal abuse and violence against women.  For recent scholarship, see, e.g., Caroline Anne Forell, Using a Jury of Her Peers to Teach About the Connection between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse, 15 Animal L. Rev. 53 (2008).  The NYT article leads with a statement claiming that proposed legislation is “[r]esponding to growing evidence that people who abuse animals often go on to attack humans.”  But the article makes more of the cost to state and local governments of caring for abused animals that are rescued.  The article cites $1.2 million in expenses by Franklin County, Ohio officials caring for 170 rescued dogs.  A Michigan county paid $37,000 in clean-up costs when dead animals were found in a hoarders home.

 This leaves one with the impression that the least vulnerable among us get legal protection only when its absence becomes too expensive for the state. A society or government that listens only when money talks does not adequately respond to those with the greatest needs.

California Bill Proposes Animal Abuser Registry

David Cassuto

From the Hopeful Developments Desk: California State Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez has drafted a bill (with help from the ALDF) which will require people convicted of felony animal abuse to register with the state and provide a current photo, home address, place of employment and other information.  The law, if passed, will be funded by a small tax on pet food.

Florez, who also chairs the Food and Agriculture Committee, is counting on his credibility in the Ag world as well as bipartisan opposition to animal abuse to overcome the anti-tax backlash that inevitably accompanies any non-revenue neutral proposal.

We shall see.  More here and here.