Animal Abuse Registry
California’s legislature is working on a bill that would create a registry for convicted animal abusers. This registry would operate like a sex offender registry (Illinois’s seen here). According to the Time Magazine article on the subject (seen here), the charges that will earn someone a spot on the registry include, “malicious and intentional maiming, mutilation, torture, wounding or killing of a living animal. It would also target pet hoarders and operators of animal-fighting rings (such as dog-baiting and cockfighting) who have felony convictions.”
This seems pretty harsh. As it stands, there are problems with the sex offender registry. Enforcement and keeping the records current takes up state resources and often times, people fall through the cracks. Because it serves a great purpose, the resources are well spent. If you know that there is a convicted sex offender down the street from you, you take extra precautions in structuring your life to minimize risk. The crime is so grievous and permanently scarring that the offenders, in many cases, deserve the permanent scarlet letter.
The article makes a good point: animal abusers often escalate their violence against animals into violence against humans. However, one could argue that ex-convicts, especially those that have killed humans in the past, are more prone to killing again than a person who owned one too many dogs. Of course, hurting animals is disgusting and wrong and most likely precludes hurting humans, but to have one’s punishment continue with this permanent insignia of wrongdoing seems to be a punishment that does not fit the crime. This bill needs a little more work, and the California legislature will surely change it enough so people who deserve the severe punishment receive it.