Animal abuse registry would track offenders

By | March 31, 2014 12:00 am

Raela Gore
Staff Writer
The Tennessee Animal Abuser Registration Act is being considered in an effort to end the vicious cycle of animal abuse.
By establishing registration, verification and tracking requirements for animal abusers, it would be far more difficult for animal abusers to obtain animals. As it is now, animal abusers can easily continue obtaining animals and abusing them, even if they have a past of abusing animals. This bill would require animal abusers to register on an animal abuse registry, much like sex offenders. The term “animal abuser” would refer to any person who commits aggravated cruelty to animals, felony animal fighting, or bestiality.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation would maintain the registry, which would list the following as public information: the abuser’s complete name, aliases, date of birth, primary address, race, gender, recent photograph, driver license number and issuing state, parole or probation officer, and the animal abuse offense for which the abuser was convicted. A first-time animal abuser would pay $275 to the registering agency to register; however, payment may be waived for indigents. Twenty-five dollars of the registration fee would be kept by the registering agency to settle administrative costs. A sheriff’s office, municipal or metropolitan police department, campus law enforcement agency, the department of correction, or board of parole would qualify as a registering agency.
If an animal abuser established or changed a primary or secondary address, established a physical presence at a location, became employed, practiced a vocation, or became a student, he or she would be required to register in person within five days of doing so.
Fiscally speaking, the bill would implement a $25,000 increase in state expenditures, but only once. Afterwards, there would be a $5,000 reoccurring increase in state expenditures.
A violation of this bill would be a Class E felony punishable only by fine. For the TBI, the bill would take effect as soon as it became law; however, the bill would take effect for all other purposes on Jan. 1, 2015.

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