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Bitch Noone Wanted
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Animal Abuse Registry
By Susan Kim

With a little digging, you can learn a lot about your neighbors...criminal convictions.. jobs... Even where they used to live.

But some animal rights activists say you should know more-- particularly, about how they treat their animals.

A new movement is underway to start registering animal abusers like we do sex offenders. Backers say it could help keep your pets safe.

17-year old Max has lived a hard life. His owner, Renee Young, got the dog from a shelter.

"He'd been abused. All his legs had been broken. He had a tattoo on his stomach. God only knows what that was from," Young showed us.

And though Max has lived his last ten years in the lap of luxury, he still has some emotional scars, Young said. "He jumps and attacks if someone comes up behind him. He, um, if you pick him up a certain way, he gets very, very agitated."

The Animal Legal Defense Fund believes not enough is being done to curb animal abuse in the US. We spoke with Joyce Tischler, who is with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and feels strongly about this subject.

"Animal abusers are in every community in this country and they range from people who commit neglect, who don't feed their animals, don't provide veterinary care, to people who commit major felonies, torture and killing of animals, long term abuse," Tischler explained.

The group is pushing for the creation of an animal abuser registry. Members say it would help neighbors protect their own pets... And also allow shelters to do better background checks when making adoptions.

"Someone convicted of felony animal cruelty or felony animal abuse would be mandated to register with the local county sheriff or police, his or her name, address, employer, photograph, fingerprints," Tischler elaborated.

But while the registry sounds noble in theory, economy expert and Harvard economics professor Jeffrey Miron says states don't have the resources to enforce it.

"Making sure they're in the registry, making sure they're living where they say they're living. In my judgment those resources could be better used pursuing more important types of crimes, homicides, rapes, assault," Miron explained.

But proponents say the registry could protect people along with animals. A 1997 study found animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people.

"The FBI has been tracking animal abusers, violent animal abusers, since the early 1970s because they have found most serial killers started by violently abusing and killing animals," Tischler explained.

Max is safe now, but Renee thinks a database would be very helpful to others like him. "It's a tiny little step on our part to help the animals," she said.

While no states have enforced official animal abuse registries, petabuse.com tracks more than 16,000 accused or convicted animal abusers.

502 Posts
I heard about this on the news a few days ago. I can see both points of view but I think if you have an animal abuser on file it might lead to the arrest and conviction of a people abuser down the road.
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