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Lawmakers Consider an Animal Abuse Registry

March 1, 2010

NYtimes.com: Lawmakers Consider an Animal Abuse Registry.

We warned that this would happen. Once we allow lawmakers to publicly shame one group of citizens on Internet registries, it won’t take long before other crimes are listed online. Already registries have been pursued in other states for animal abuse, murder, drugs, DUI ,gun offenders, arson and domestic abuse.

See Related Posts : NH Bill to Create Internet Murderer Registry
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San Francisco — California may soon place animal abusers on the same level as sex offenders by listing them in an online registry, complete with their home addresses and places of employment.

The proposal, made in a bill introduced Friday by the State Senate’s majority leader, Dean Florez, would be the first of its kind in the country and is just the latest law geared toward animal rights in a state that has recently given new protections to chickens, pigs and cattle.

Under Mr. Florez’s bill, any person convicted of a felony involving animal cruelty would have to register with the police and provide a range of personal information and a current photograph. That information would be posted online, along with information on the person’s offense.

The bill was drafted with help from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an animal-protection group based in Cotati, Calif., north of San Francisco. The group has promoted the registry not only as a way to notify the public but also as a possible early warning system for other crimes.

In addition to sex offenders, California lists arsonists in an online registry, and the animal abusers would be listed on a similar site, Mr. Florez said. Such registries have raised privacy concerns from some civil libertarians, but Joshua Marquis, a member of the defense fund’s board and the district attorney in Clatsop County, Ore., said the worries were unfounded.

“Does it turn that person into a pariah? No,” Mr. Marquis said. “But it gives information to someone who might be considering hiring that person for a job.” He added: “I do not think for animal abusers it’s unreasonable considering the risk they pose, much like the risk that people who abuse children do.

“A lot of times these people will just pick up and move to another jurisdiction or another state if they get caught,” said Ms. Deegan, who has written on animal welfare laws. “It would definitely help on those types of cases where people jump around.” One Web site — Petabuse.com — already offers a type of online registry, with listings of animal offenders and their crimes.

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