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My Turn: Animal abusers will now be registered like sex offenders

Editor’s note: Animal abusers registered as sex offenders is a no-brainer.

against-animal-abuse

By Tamas Mondovics
Editor

As a crime beat and public safety reporter for more than a decade, I had my fair share of writing about bad guys and bringing pertinent safety information
and tips to my readers. But I couldn’t be any more delighted to see a recent report about a topic that I believe most can agree on and is close to the hearts of many across the nation.

The article dealt with animal offenders registry that is reportedly growing in popularity,and which will publicly reveal the names of known,convicted animal abusers in the area, similar to how sex offenders are registered.To be sure we all know what we are talking about an “abuser”or “animal abuser” means a person convicted in this state of committing an animal abuse offense or aggravated cruelty to animals.

Since January 1,2016, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has been posting a publicly accessible list on its website of any person convicted of an animal abuse offense on and after that date. While currently, Tennessee is the only state to have an animal offenders registry, many other communities nationwide have them at a local level; something that is now considered a win for all animals.The effort will help to identify as well as prevent convicted
animal abusers from acquiring and owning animals.A few facts related to the registry include the length of time that a convicted abuser will remain on the list and what information is included.

According to the TBI, first time animal abusers will be registered for two years. An additional five years are added for every subsequent offense after the two years. Each abuser will have their name, date of birth, offense,conviction date, and expiration date, all of which is monitored by and can be accessed
at the TBI or any local country office.

In a recent report, Suffolk County (eastern part of Long Island) legislator Jon Cooper, who was instrumental in establishing the first animal offenders
registry in the country was quoted to say that a very strong correlation is between animal abuse and domestic violence. Cooper noted that almost
every serial killer starts out by torturing animals so “the registry can help protect not only the animals but also people.”

Aside from being on the list of animal abusers, offenders will be made to pay a $50 registration fine. Abusers 18 or older must supply a recent photo as well as any aliases they go by. Those that fail to register, face one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

One final thought that also caught my attention was the question at the end of the article,which asked: Do you agree with this registry? Then it
added, “Let us know.”I would venture to say that there is no shortage of thoughts on this topic but to wonder about the importance, necessity or legitimacy of the registry seems, at least to me is a no-brainer.

For more information about the registry or to see those currently on the abuser’s list, please visit www.tn.gov/tbi/tennessee-animal-abuse-registry.