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California Considers Tracking Animal Abusers Like Sex Offenders

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by Vicki, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Staff Member

    Updated March 05, 2010
    California Considers Tracking Animal Abusers Like Sex Offenders

    By Judson Berger
    - FOXNews.com

    The California state Legislature is considering a new proposal to establish a registry of names -- similar to widely used sex offender databases -- to track and make public the identities of people convicted of felony animal abuse.

    Animal abusers would be tracked like sex offenders if California lawmakers have their way.

    The state Legislature is considering a new proposal to establish a registry of names -- similar to widely used sex offender databases -- to track and make public the identities of people convicted of felony animal abuse.

    The registry, which under the law would be posted on the Internet, wouldn't just include names. The bill calls for photographs, home addresses, physical descriptions, criminal histories, known aliases and other details to be made public.

    Supporters say it's a way to notify communities and local police that animal abusers are living among them and to warn shelters to watch out for them if they try to adopt.

    "In part, it's an attempt to give law enforcement a heads up when people like this are in their communities, so they can cut off problems at the pass," said Lisa Franzetta, spokeswoman for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which is leading a national campaign to get states to establish the registries.

    California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, who introduced the bill last month, was the first to take a crack at it, though Tennessee has considered something similar. Franzetta said lawmakers from six states have contacted the group to express interest in launching animal abuser databases.

    Florez said the bill, which if passed would be the first of its kind, falls in line with other animal protection bills California has pursued. He said the registry is aimed at helping animal control officers do their jobs and animal shelters make sure abusers "don't walk out with an animal they can torture."

    But not everybody in California, which also maintains a database of arsonists, thinks a brand new public database of unsavory persons is what the state needs, particularly given its budget troubles.

    The tool is estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1 million to launch, and to pay for it, the bill calls for both fines on animal abusers and a new tax on pet food -- in the neighborhood of a few cents per pound. That doesn't sit well with the pet food lobby, since it argues the tax punishes the very people who are trying to help, not hurt, their animal friends.

    "We generally don't think that this is a very good proposal," said Ed Rod, vice president of government affairs for the American Pet Products Associations, though he called the idea a worthy goal.

    "Making one group of people, the pet owners, pay for something that's going to benefit everyone doesn't seem fair," Rod said. "It's not pet owners in general who are abusing the animals. They're trying to take care of the animals."

    The Fresno Bee published an editorial in opposition to the bill Friday, saying the new "state bureaucracy" would be funded by an "unfair tax" on pet owners.

    "We also question the registry's effectiveness. We would rather see the penalties and fines substantially increased on those convicted of animal cruelty," the paper wrote. "We have no problem with private groups creating registries. ... But we oppose another state bureaucracy."

    Florez, though, said that once launched, the registry would probably only have one employee attached to it and an annual cost of $60,000 to $70,000.

    "We don't see this moving into some kind of large bureaucracy," he said.

    Franzetta said that the database would only be to flag the worst offenders, like people who hoard hundreds of animals under poor conditions or "sadistic animal torturers" who pick up their prey at shelters. She said recidivism for felony offenders is high and that animal abuse can be a gateway to more egregious crimes -- she said communities should know "who's living among them" just like they can with sex offenders.

    "The same logic applies," she said.

    FOXNews.com - California Considers Tracking Animal Abusers Like Sex Offenders
  2. HighCoastHiker

    HighCoastHiker Top Dog

    Perhaps if this were being considered in a state that was able to pay the beauracrats they already have, properly fund the agencies they already have or keep track of the real offenders they already have...maybe
  3. simms

    simms CH Dog

    This is why every AR that is caught poking thier head into thier niebors yard needs to be publicly exposed in the same manner that they have and will exploit you.

    Pat Patricks case is a good example. One group had all his public info posted right down to a map to his house. The very next day of his arrest. They had him labled as guilty, praising his arrest. Turn about should be fair play.
  4. simms

    simms CH Dog

    Personaly I think that there should be a site that does idnetify AR supporters on this level. something that would allow a person to search thier local areas. An AR supporter poses just as much of a danger if not more than a sex offender to me.

    Also to include local laws or proposed legistlation.
  5. simms

    simms CH Dog

    This name can be added to that list.
    (Desiree Bender, Humane Society)

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