A proposed registry of animal abusers, similar to that currently used for convicted sex offenders, may soon become a reality in New Jersey. Although many state representatives have considered similar bills, only Tennessee currently has an active registry in place.
Assemblyman Troy Singleton of Burlington County, NJ sponsored the bill, which, if passed, will be set up as part of the New Jersey Department of Health. Singleton told The Wall Street Journal that the site would show the photos and offenses of anyone convicted or held liable in an animal cruelty case.
Much like the sex offender registries, the information will be readily available to the public. New York City implemented an animal abuse registry in 2014, but it has not been made public. It is currently used by animal related businesses and organizations to screen potential employees, handlers and volunteers. Those appearing on the registry are banned from owning or interacting with animals for up to 10 years.
Some have expressed concerns that the registry will be used incorrectly or display inaccurate information. The Center for Constitutional Rights say that an online display would be tantamount to public shaming and unlikely to reduce the problem of abuse.
Tennessee’s registry currently displays the names, photos, addresses, dates of birth and conviction details of two men. The site just launched earlier this year.
New Jersey’s bill still has a ways to go before it can be set into action. It will require the approval of the Assembly and Senate, and then must be signed off on by the governor. Other states currently considering similar bills include Massachusetts, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
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