It’s Time for Animal Abuse Registries
There are registries for child abusers and sex offenders all over the world. The same, however, cannot be said for animal abusers.
Three years ago, an 11-year-old husky named Logan put in motion a demand for tighter laws for animal abuse. In 2012, an unknown person came into Logan’s yard in Michigan and poured battery acid all across his face. Logan was in his kennel and had no way of protecting himself against the abuser. Logan was treated for his severe wounds, but ultimately died a mere four months later from the attack’s side effects.
The incident inspired a Michigan bill — commonly referred to as Logan’s Law — that would require a registry for animal abusers. If a person’s name is on the proposed registry, they would not be able to get a pet for five years. The registry would also help animal shelters screen potential adopters.
Logan’s Law ended up passing in the Michigan House last year. Unfortunately, it did not get through the Senate in the necessary amount of time. It has been three years since the bill was introduced. Supporters of the bill are hoping it will be seen all the way through to law, since Rep. Paul Muxlow (R-Brown City, Mich.) has recently reintroduced the bill.
Having an animal abuse registry is a relatively new concept. In 2013 — one year after Logan’s attack — New York created the first animal abuse registry. In addition to being put on the registry, abusers also have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Michigan activists are hoping to follow in New York’s footsteps by bringing Logan’s Law into reality.
Although animal abuser registries still need additional support and a bigger spotlight, there are still states that are helping crack down on animal abuse and giving more severe punishments to abusers. A case in Massachusetts resulted in Governor Patrick Deval signing the Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS) Act. The act was a response to Puppy Doe, who was horrifically abused for months. When she was discovered, her physical state was so bad that she needed to be euthanized. The law that was passed as a result of her abuse increased fines and jail time for abusers. It also raised the maximum offense for first-time abusers from five years to seven, with future offenses having a penalty up to 10 years. Fines were upped from $2500 for the first offense to $5000. Subsequent offenses can be fined up to $10,000. The law will also put responsibility on veterinarians as well, giving them consequences if they do not report abuse.
In 2010, Wisconsin passed a law that not only protects animals, but children as well. Bill 747 created harsher consequences for abusers when the act of abuse is committed in front of a child or when a child is encouraged to mistreat an animal.
Stricter laws punishing abusers are a step in the right direction. Having an animal abuse registry goes even further to help prevent additional abuse toward animals. By having a registry available, people can make sure animals are going into the hands of the right person. Shelters and veterinarians will be able to conduct more thorough background checks and be certain that the animals are getting the care they need and are not in harm’s way.
Photo Credit: surtr