We have fantastic news for animals all across the country!
A number of United States jurisdictions have enacted an animal offenders registry due to a growing popularity.
The registry will publicly reveal the names of known animal abusers in a particular area, similar to how sex offenders are registered.
As of right now, Tennessee is the only state to have an animal offenders registry, but Suffolk County, New York and Cook County, Illinois have the registry at a local level. How does such a registry work? The Tennessee Registry is monitored by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and can be accessed at the TBI or any other local country office.
Each animal abuser will have their name, date of birth, offense, conviction date, and expiration date listed. First-time animal abusers will be registered for two years. An additional five years will be added for every subsequent offense after the two years.
Suffolk County was the first in the country to develop an animal offenders registry. “We know there is a very strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence. Almost every serial killer starts out by torturing animals, so in a strange sense we could end up protecting the lives of people,” said Suffolk County legislator Jon Cooper.
Given the numbers, we need to take Cooper’s warning seriously:
One study found that animal abuse occurred in 88 percent of homes where child abuse had been discovered.
Another study found that up to 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers also abuse the family pet.
In fact, animal abusers are five times more likely to abuse people.
By registering animal abusers, we will protect both helpless animals and the people animal abusers are more likely to abuse. While it is incredibly important to appropriately punish animal abusers, this would play an even larger role in changing the way we regard animals in our society.
If we consider the harm done to animals as equal to the harm done to members of our own species, we can begin to change cultural perceptions of animals and one day upgrade their status as “property” to that of individuals in their own right.