On November 1, an animal abuse registry went into effect in Hillsborough County, Florida. The registry (which includes name, address and photo of registered offenders) is designed to keep track of individuals who have been convicted of animal abuse crimes.
Moving forward, convicted animal abusers will be tracked much like sex offenders through a publicly searchable, online website. According to Fox 13 News, Hillsborough residents, who have been convicted of animal abuse in any Florida county, must sign up with the registry. Additionally, animal abusers:
- Cannot own, possess, or live in the same home or on the same property as an animal while on the registry
- Cannot work with a companion animal, with or without compensation, while on the registry
- Must renew their registration annually while on the registry
Thanks to the new ordinance, which was passed in September by county commissioners, animal shelters can (and must) search the registry, on the country-run website, to see if potential adopters have been convicted of animal abuse – if so, the adopter can and will be denied the right to adopt. The same holds true for retailers…potential buyers will be denied the right to purchase a pet if their name is found on the registry. Those who are on the registry are also prohibited from working with animals, so potential employers can utilize the service as well.
Though some people had opposed the new ordinance, those supporting the registry pointed to law enforcement’s ability to keep tabs on violent individuals…citing the known link between cruelty to animals and human violence. According to the Humane Society of the United States:
A number of studies have drawn links between the abuse of animals and violence against people. A 2001-2004 study by the Chicago Police Department “revealed a startling propensity for offenders charged with crimes against animals to commit other violent offenses toward human victims.” Of those arrested for animal crimes, 65% had been arrested for battery against another person.
The Facebook page for Hillsborough County is using social media to remind residents about the new ordinance and registry:
Effective November 1, 2016: If you’re selling, adopting, transferring, or exchanging an animal of any kind in #HillsboroughFL, it’s your responsibility to ensure these animals do not get into the hands of animal abusers.
Animal Abuse Registries are becoming more common around the nation; ideally, more pets will be protected from acts of violence.
Find the animal abuse registry at this link.