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More States Considering Animal Abuser Registries

by Countable | 2.27.18

What’s the story?

  • Alleged Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz had a history of animal abuse—within hours of the massacre, reports poured in of Cruz abusing chickens, frogs, pot-bellied pigs, and his own dog.

  • With many infamous criminals – including serial killers and mass shooters - hurting animals before they targeted humans, 11 states are considering public online registries of known animal abusers.

Why does it matter?

  • "Animal abuse is a bridge crime," said the sponsor of New York’s bill, Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco. Tedisco referred to reports that Cruz enjoyed torturing animals, bragging about his abuse and posting disturbing photos on social media.

  • As the Detroit News explained, "While the main goal of collecting names of convicted animal abusers is to prevent them from being able to adopt or purchase other animals, registry backers say such lists could also be a way to raise red flags about people who may commit other violent crimes ranging from domestic violence to mass shootings."

  • One study found that 43-percent of mass shooters have a history of animal abuse.

  • Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, the BTK Killer, the Night Stalker, Son of Sam, the Columbine High School shooters, and the Las Vegas gunman all have histories of animal abuse and torture.

  • John Thompson, deputy executive director of the National Sheriffs' Association, founded the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse in 2014. Its goal, the Sun Sentinel explained, is to "educate law enforcement officials about the link between animal abuse and other violent crimes."

  • "Anyone that can harm an animal is an evil person, and in my opinion, they have the potential to do anything," Thompson told the Sentinel.

  • In 2016, the FBI began tracking animal abuse crimes through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

What do animal rights organizations say?

  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is strongly in favor of animal abuser registries.

  • Some animal welfare advocates, including the ASPSCA, question their effectiveness. "Given the limited scope, reach and utilization of animal abuse registries, it is unlikely they would have any significant impact on the incidence of animal cruelty," said Randall Lockwood, senior vice president of anti-cruelty projects for the ASPCA. Instead, he suggests communities focus on strengthening anti-cruelty laws.

What do you think?

Should more states create animal abuse registries? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: jmpaget / iStock)

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(146)
  • Angie
    02/27/2018
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    This may not be revolutionary and unfortunately will not stop animal abuse, but it’s a start. It is a fact that psychopaths like Bundy and Dahmer hurt animals when they were kids. It is a red flag warning as it indicates a lack of empathy which is the main problem with psychopaths, especially those that go on to become killers.

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  • Timnyc
    02/28/2018
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    Please support this to help the helpless animals that are abused and tortured by cruel and sick individuals which leads to demented adults who harm humans.

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  • Tracy
    02/28/2018
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    If you look at statistics, which I know is a challenge for an administration that is in denial about real statistics and science, you will see that animal abuse is something that most violent killers and serial killers have in their past. This is something that should be recorded and tracked to prevent the people who are guilty from going unnoticed.

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  • gailnabity
    02/28/2018
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    What has taken so long? People who hurt animals hurt people. Some go into schools with AR-15s and kill 17 students and teachers and wound others!!! Ponder that. Ponder how valuable such a registry will be when doing background checks...to buy a rifle and the 30-100 round magazines to use with it!!!

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  • Larissa
    02/28/2018
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    Please support animal abuse registries!!!! They should be treated like sex offenders

    Like (23)
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  • Metaphoric
    02/28/2018
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    This should have happened decades, if not more, ago. I’ve never trusted people who don’t like animals. They’re instincts are perfectly honed. I always watch how my dogs are around strangers. And, they’ve always been right. Animal abusers disgust me.

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  • Dana
    02/28/2018
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    I think this is so important. Animal abuse is reprehensible, so disgusting. An animal abuse registry will help identify those that go on to commit heinous crimes. These individuals trying to buy a gun that is on the registry is a red flag to law enforcement. There should, also, be tougher penalties for animal abusers. The laws we have now for abusing animals, to me, is basically a slap on the wrist. These individuals need mandatory mental health treatment. These individuals, in my opinion, have extreme mental illness. I can not fathom how anyone can hurt anyone or anything much less the innocents-animals, children, the disabled or the elderly. I think this registry could possibly deter someone from committing violent crimes.

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  • Laura
    02/28/2018
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    A registry is a great start. Data shows not only that abusive children are likely to grow up to be violent adults, but that a significant percent of abusive children are experiencing abuse in their lives. This is another tool to identify possible child abuse, and should trigger a screening for that.

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  • Kimberly
    02/28/2018
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    Yes. Absolutely. Animal abuser registries. Harsher penalties for abusers. All of this and more.

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  • Stephanie
    02/28/2018
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    Please vote in favor of this. It will help prevent animal abuse as well as save human lives.

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  • RadicalModerate
    02/28/2018
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    Good idea.

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  • Shannon
    02/28/2018
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    It's a start. Animal abuse should be considered a federal crime

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  • Stacie
    02/28/2018
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    Yes! This is a big sign of mental illness! Animals need to be protected too!

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  • OlderNWiser
    03/01/2018
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    Please support the animal abuse registry both for the hapless, helpless animals who need protection from violence and cruelty and, because so many animal abusers become serial killers of humans. This won’t begin to solve all the issues, but it is a good step in the right direction.

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  • Victor
    02/28/2018
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    Animal abusers are the same weak pieces of shit that would attack defenseless people. Any body caught abusing animals should go to jail.

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  • Judith
    02/28/2018
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    YES BY ALL MEANS CREATE AN ANIMAL ABUSER REGISTERY AND MAKE IT AVAILABLE SO WE THAT CARE AND LOVE OUR ANIMALS DON'T TRANSFER CONTROL OR OWNERSHIP OF OUR ANIMALS TO ANYONE,BY ANY MEANS THAT IS A REGISTERED ANIMAL ABUSER !! ALSO MAKE IT A FEDRAL CRIME TO TORTURE ANIMALS !!

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  • Chickie
    02/28/2018
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    I agree with the ASPCA; strengthen anti-cruelty laws to help prevent animal abuse. Yes it is true; there has been a correlation of those who are horrible criminals have also been animal abusers. But I honestly do not believe a registry of animal abusers will stop mass shootings. There are some very clear answers to prevent mass shootings: raise the age to buy all guns to 21, and ban all automatic weapons, (except for the military. Now, for goodness sake, stop the looking for excuses and trying to blame others ~ represent your constituents, not the NRA!

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  • Kathy
    02/28/2018
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    This is a great idea!

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  • Marylynn
    02/28/2018
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    This needs to take place nationwide, worldwide would be even better.

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  • Barbara
    02/28/2018
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    It’s a start. Animal abuse is a heinous act . For any society to not do all in their power to curtail is a statement about the depravity of the society itself. We also will be able to see who these disturbed individuals are. Another way to keep eyes on a vicious individual.

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