New State Animal Abuser Registries Proposed in 2016
Take action to support passage of these bills
Animal abuser registries provide help police identify convicted animal abusers who are involved in new allegations of abuse, and for shelters and adoption centers to screen out convicted animal abusers who may be trying to adopt an animal. Access to this information is crucial in keeping companion animals out of the hands of potential abusers.
Animal abuser registries, which are modeled on registries kept for convicted sex offenders, have gained popularity across the country. Legislation in some states makes the information on the registries available only to law enforcement and animal control and shelter facilities’ personnel, while other state bills also allow access from members of the public.
In 2015, Tennessee became the first state to adopt a state-wide animal abuser registry, which took effect in January 2016.
There are some states still considering bills carried over in the 2015-16 legislative session, while new bills have already been introduced for consideration this year.
Please TAKE ACTION below if your state in considering the creation of an animal abuser registry. Or contact your legislator with a model bill and request them to introduce an animal abuser registry in your state.
Take action to SUPPORT passage of bills under consideration in the following states—letters can only be sent if you are a resident of that state:
Illinois, HB 3773: Would establish a publicly-accessible list of any person convicted of animal cruelty, aggravated cruelty, or animal torture, as well as a special fund to collect fees from registrants to pay to maintain this registry.
Massachusetts, H 1385: Would establish an animal abuse registry for individuals convicted of an animal abuse crime and would be accessible only to animal shelters, pet stores and breeders to ensure that listed offenders don’t have access to animals. Shelters, pet stores and breeders would be required to use the registry or face penalties.
Michigan, HB 4355: Would require animal control shelters and animal protection shelters to conduct a search of any individual seeking to adopt an animal on the existing Michigan State Police Internet Criminal History Access Tool database. Convicted animal abusers would be barred from owning an animal for five years after conviction.
Missouri, HB 1707: Would require the Missouri State Highway Patrol to include all convicted animal abusers on a publicly accessible list on its website. First-time offenders will remain on the list for two years and repeat offenders with will remain on the list for an additional five years for each subsequent conviction.
New Jersey, SB 145:, would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to maintain a list of convicted animal abusers. Registrants would be prohibited from owning, keeping or harboring an animal.
Pennsylvania, HB 351: Would establish a central registry of individuals convicted of felony animal cruelty, as well as local registries to be maintained by local sheriff’s offices in any area where a convicted animal abuser lives. The statewide registry would be made available to the public.
Washington, SB 6234: would establish a state wide registry of individuals convicted of an animal abuse offense to be maintained by the attorney general. Offenders would be delisted after ten years from their most recent conviction.
West Virginia: HB 2618, is a reintroduced bill from last year’s session. It would require the state police to create and update an online registry of all convicted animal abusers. The registry would be available to the public and would impose a duty upon animal breeders, animal shelters, and pet stores to check the database prior to sale so that they do not give a registered offender an animal.