Target: Illinois Representative Toni Barrios
Goal: Strengthen animal cruelty laws and create an animal abuser registry in Illinois
State Representative Toni Barrios recently proposed a bill that would strengthen animal cruelty laws and create an animal abuser registry in the state of Illinois. The registry would be similar to those for sex offenders and accessible to animal shelters as well as the general public. Passing the bill into law would bring the United States one step closer to a national registry and deserves our support.
The proposed database would track anyone older than 18 convicted of cruel treatment, aggravated cruelty or animal torture. It would include their names, birthdates and addresses. Those in the database would not be allowed to own pets or work with animals of any kind. They would also be required to notify authorities of a change of address. Ultimately, animal abuser registries elevate crimes against animals to the level of crimes against humans, which is where they should be. This is the first proposal for an animal abuser registry that allows abusers to be removed if they complete a course of psychiatric treatment.
New York is currently the only state that has successfully instated an animal abuser registry. Many states have proposed them, but most legislators and citizens still believe the measure to be excessive. But the reason why so many states have proposed animal abuser registries is because its rate of recidivism is second only to sexual offenses. Roughly 80 percent of those who intentionally torture or abuse an animal will do so again.
It also presents a threat to the community because so many animal abuse cases involve the abduction of pets. Statistics from dozens of studies performed on multiple continents over the course of the last 30 years have also shown that on average, 65 percent of those who abused animals eventually committed homicide, and more than 85 percent eventually committed a sexual crime. The fact of the matter is, as long as the penalties for animal cruelty remain as weak as they are, there is no incentive for those who are guilty of it to stop or refrain from doing something more heinous.
Please sign the petition below and support Representative Barrios and the creation of an animal abuser registry in Illinois.
Dear Representative Barrios,
You recently proposed a bill that, if passed into law, would create an animal abuser registry in Illinois. Several other states have also proposed similar legislation during the last year, but so far only one has had success. An animal abuser registry is crucial to not only reducing cruelty and neglect, but also keeping more animals from ending up in shelters.
You have my full support. Shelters should be able to ensure that they aren’t sending an animal to a potentially violent home and the general public should be able to know who in their neighborhood could be a threat to their four-legged family members. Please do everything you can to see that this bill passes into law and hopefully other states will take notice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: WB-CMH via Flickr