LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A new idea to help fight animal abuse is piquing a lot of interest. At least four states are considering animal abuse registries. It is similar to the sex offender registries. Anyone convicted of felony animal abuse, would be required to register. So people could know where they are through an online database.
Lobbyists are begging states to require registries that are much like Petabuse.com. Started by a web developer after her cat was kidnapped and set on fire, it tracks nearly 16,000 accused or convicted abusers.
"I think it'll make the rest of society aware of who resides next door or who they're going to rent a house to," said Kelly Heitkemp, an attorney.
If passed, the registry would include people convicted of torturing, or killing animals, as well as pet hoarders and those busted for animal-fighting rings.
"If you have the potential and capability to victimize an animal, you're pretty much the lowest form of life there is," said Heitkemp, who supports anything that would hold abusers accountable and be a voice for animal victims. "They can't tell you that they're starving to death. They can't tell you that they're beaten. All they can do is wag their tail and say, 'Help me,'...so to create a registry that would allow the community to know that there's an animal in that backyard that may be in danger, it may actually save that animal's life."
Violet Vaught would also like to see Texas pass the law.
"...there's too many cases of cruelty to animals," said Vaught. "I have a horse at home that someone abused."
But, some say it is overkill, putting animal and child abuse on the same level.
"I mean, they have more issues to be worried about - the pedophiles, sex offenders," said Tawana McCarty.
"People who have rage issues or who victimize the innocent start with animals...essentially aren't these people all the same caliber?" said Heitkemp.
As awareness of animal crimes increase, it will be interesting to see if states adopt this.
Louisiana, Tennessee, New York and California are considering the registries.
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