Tennessee is first state to launch animal abuse registry


    Starting January 2016, Tennessee will be the first state to have an animal abuse registry. The bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and in less than two months the state will launch a list of people convicted of criminal offenses against animals. Lawmakers and supporters of the piece of legislation hope this effort will help deter animal abusers and prevent pets from being adopted by those with violent pasts. "I think these peoples name need to be out there," Washington County, Tennessee Animal Shelter Director Debbie Dobbs said. "It needs to be publicized." The public registrar will be posted on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's website. Criminal offenses include aggravated animal cruelty, felony animal fighting, bestiality and related offenses, and cruelty to animals. The list will include the animal abuser's full legal name, photograph, and any other identifying data the TBI determines is necessary to identify the abuser to exclude innocent persons. "Doing something this cruel and mean I think is like any other law," Dobbs said. "if you've done it, you need to be known that you've done it and you're not going to do it again." First time offenders will remain on the registry for two years after their conviction. If there are multiple convictions, that number jumps to five. Tennessee has prompted three other states to propose this bill in their legislature.

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