A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Mar 7, 2010

"I Have a Little List" - An Animal Abuse Registry

The concept of an animal abuse registry is to list those convicted of certain animal related felonies on a public website as is done with sex offenders. As animal abuse is a violent act, often a precursor to violence against people, frequently a symptom of problems in children, and always present in the criminal histories of violent felony offenders - it must be taken seriously. It is also critical that in practice, such a registry would protect animals from future abuse, further public safety, and could withstand the necessary constitutional scrutiny to justify the public branding of offenders.

This legislation is, at this moment, a first draft. It raises many questions and, at first blush, seems fraught with the possibility of unintended consequences. For example, this version of the statute mandates that a person convicted of the felony of dog theft be listed on the abuse registry. In other words, one who steals a valuable dog for a resale profit, or, an over zealous animal lover who steals a dog that appears to be mistreated, (illegal but it happens) could be placed on this abuse registry without ever having to abuse the dog. Is this what the author intended? This is just one of a multitude of difficult legal and public policy issues present in this first draft. While the intent of this law is laudable - the actual text must be commensurate with the goal. Otherwise, we are supporting a caption, a bill in name only, while enacting a quandary.

Accordingly, I will be carefully watching the evolution of and amendments to this legislation. Stay tuned!


  1. I would like to be the first to say I am very proud to hear that people are making the best effort possible to pass this bill. It was about time! I pray and hope that whoever looks at this realizes the necessity of it and has compassion for our fellow furry friends. They are a big part of our lives and if they dedicate their lives being loyal to us, then why can't we show loyalty to them?

  2. Florez is working on amendments to address these and other concerns. Stay tuned!

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