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Animal Abuse Registries - National Humane Education Society

Implementing animal abuser registries could prevent further cruelties to both people and animals.

Implementing animal abuser registries could prevent further cruelties to both people and animals.

Several states have legislation pending that would create animal abuser registries similar to child abuser and sex offender registries. An animal abuser registry would list individuals convicted of felony animal abuse or who committed certain violent offenses against animals.

Intentional animal cruelty is of particular concern as it is a sign of psychological distress and often indicates an individual may be predisposed to committing acts of violence toward humans. Since animal abuse is often an early sign of potential human abuse, tracking animal abusers would help protect not only the animals of a community but also the people. Therefore, creating and maintaining a registry of individuals convicted of felony animal cruelty can be an asset in identifying potential criminal behavior.

Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. Additionally, mental health professionals and top law enforcement officials consider the blatant disregard for life and suffering evidenced by all forms of cruelty to animals to be an unquestionable warning sign. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders; and the FBI uses reports of animal cruelty in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals.

In addition, such registries could be valuable in tracking people who engage in illegal animal fighting, such as cockfighting and dog fighting; hoarders; and those who run puppy mills.

The following states have legislation pending:

Arizona SB 1161
ConnecticutHB 5205
New YorkS2305A
Hawaii SB 0528
OregonHB 2394
PennsylvaniaHB 0265 and SB 0320
South CarolinaHB 3045
VermontS 0009
VirginiaHB 2242

NHES urges the citizens of these states to contact their legislators and encourage them to support a felony animal abuser registry in their state.

Related Posts:
Animal Abuser Registries, June 2012
Animal Abuser Registries, Feb 2012
Animal Abuser Registries, Jan 2011

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51 responses to “Animal Abuse Registries”

  1. jackie brake says:

    My idea…I think a part of this animal abuse registry should make all Employers who are hiring and reading job applications be required by law to check their animal abuse registry in their State System before hiring employees. If said applicant is in the registry..they do not have to hire that individual for employment.

    • Jen says:

      Nice in theory I dont want my tax dollars being used to support them because they can’t find a job.

      • Christina Anderson says:

        the coalition between animal abuse, child, elderly abuse and domestic violence is 89% then there are the statistics showing the high percentage around 79% who commit even more violent crimes such as mass shootings, serial killers and rapist, a register would give a red flag to these potential activities. If you have a child or elderly parent or relative and you are looking for someone to care for them, do you not want to know all there history? More and more we are hearing about abusive groomers, vet techs and general labors at our shelters, farms and dairies, as a employer would you not want to have this information? There are other jobs available and if a person can’t find a job due to their abusive past working with animals or other vulnerable individuals, then perhaps they shouldn’t have those jobs to begin with. Those who say they can’t find a job and milk the system, will always milk the system, this will not be a deterrent.

      • JezebelBlue says:

        Most likely none of your tax dollars would go toward supporting 99.9% of people who need assistance. And, even if any of your money did go toward anyone’s public assistance it would be mere pennies. Which makes me wonder why would you sell out any ounce of your morality and ethics for a few pennies?

      • v says:

        Maybe you are an animal abuser.

      • Suzanne says:

        How short sighted of you. You want this person working with animals or vulnerable people?

      • Lee M. says:

        So Jen, do you want them teaching your children? Or facilitating your medical care? Grooming your dog? Taking care of Grandma? I can give ypu a few names if you are searching for any of the above- because there is not a registry for animal abusers or animal cruelty.
        With your mindset, I have to wonder how you feel about a sex offender registry…

      • Sara says:

        So you would rather be working with animal abusers who are highly linked with violence towards humans?

  2. Annette says:

    Animal abuse should be considered as criminal

  3. How do I start making it happen in Montana I want animal abuse registry in Montana

    • Edward Todd says:

      I agree too Melissa, I can’t believe we haven’t got one here….but like we say, Welcome to Montana, set your watch back 20 years. Sad!!

      • Michaela Gray says:

        TN here and we do have a Registry. Sadly it doesn’t tell you any details about the case. Lots of room for improvement!

  4. Adele Basson says:

    Good day,

    I would like to know how you start the process/go about the whole process to establish an animal abuser registry.
    I love this initiative & would like to implement (or at least try my very best) a similar registry in South Africa.
    But I am not sure how/where to begin the whole process, I would very much appreciate it it you could guide me or provide me with any details on how I can get started, who to approach etc.

    Thank you!

    • nhesadmin says:

      Hi Adele, thank you for the comment. I’m sorry about the delay in getting back to you. Approach your local law enforcement agencies and your local government representatives about the need for an animal abuse registry and they should be able to answer some questions for you. Good luck and thank you for supporting animals!

      • Antoinette Richardson says:

        I just sent an email to my State Rep about getting info on starting one in MI. Lets see is they respond.

        • Erika says:

          Is there a bill in Michigan pending?
          I plan on contacting my state reps but was wondering if there is any legislation pending in the state of Michigan?

          • Hi Erika,

            Michigan almost passed a bill in 2016 that would have started an animal abuser registry, but it was not passed due to expenses. Instead, Michigan passed Logan’s Law which gives animal shelters and pet stores the ability to check criminal backgrounds of people and refuse to adopt to people with histories of animal abuse convictions. There are currently no bills reintroducing an animal abuser registry in Michigan.

    • Jen says:

      I’m a little late to this party but I’ve been saying this for years. In Florida. Glad I found this thread. I’m going to pursue this here. We need it to be national though. Perhaps I’ll start with the local Humane Society.

      • eva blaurock says:

        Since Jan 2017 we have an Animal Abuser Reg in place here in Marion County FL. IMO it is absolutely pointless! As the registry has a limited time of 3 yrs ONLY . We have 18 offenders listed w/12 expired and 6 left that are current. Hardly anyone even is aware of this list ! We do have an enjoinment list that has many more names listed. Deals are made in Court and many of these offender get off way to easy, so they obviously will never be on the Abuser Reg. but on the Enjoinment list.

  5. Mark McKeen says:

    You can add North Carolina to this list (Senate Bill 423) … it is a bi-partisan effort and expectations are that it will pass and become law this year. I certainly hope so!

  6. Jeanne Fraioli says:

    Tryng to follow the passing of this bill. RIght now its states it needs to pass assemby. Do we know when that date will be?

    • Hi Jeanne,

      Which state are you referring to? There are several states with pending legislation for passing animal animal abuse registry. Please visit your state’s legislature website for information on your state’s bill, or respond to this comment with your state so we can give you specific information. Many times there is no date set for voting on a bill until a week or a few days before the vote, so keep your eyes peeled and stay up-to-date on your state’s legislative activity. As always, contact your representatives! Thank you!

  7. Ya'ira says:

    Omgsh! Seeing this makes me so happy. I honestly never thought that this day would come. Also, Adele, what you are trying to do is insanely awesome and I wish the best of luck to you. I’m happy to see that there are only comments of support for this new law! There is hope for the world after all. I made a prezi called “How Animal Abuse is Linked with Human Violence.” If you would like please take a look at it. It would be very appreciated!

  8. Wallace says:

    I’m sad that this isn’t already an international effort.

  9. Catherine Wilson says:

    My state nj governor shut down the aspca. 1000 dollar fine for cruelty to animals I want jail time…I’m currently taking a petition.. trying to get a registry. Here. Reopen the aspcas want breeders to have a lottery puppy mills closed down. I want them to be responsible for finding them a home n fixing them… fines and penalties after so many days. The breeders suffer the same penalties… breeders will pay for a lottery ticket. The proceeds from that and fines will be turned over to rescues shelters. I’m trying to push job applications have a ask would you like a dollar donated to rescues shelters?… my opinion shelters and rescues should not have to fight spend money on getting so many donations … by the way I looked up this registry animals being treated as the same as child welfare laws. It did not appear until I hit my clipboard to pull my petition up. Sorry if I’m stepping on toes. I did research … now I would like to know if I can fight or has our fight been won? Can I proceed? With my petition to help out?

    • Hi Catherine,

      The only state that has a statewide animal abuse registry is Tennessee, so we are still fighting to get them passed in the rest of the states. You do not need our permission to start your own petition! Please share your compassion for animals with everyone. It is by people like you that these laws will change. Thank you!

    • tor says:

      The official stance of the aspca is actually against registries for animal abusers.

  10. Amy Elwell says:

    What if you think someone is abusing animals how can we get the animals out

  11. Mary says:

    I believe this is what at least can be done nationwide for starts! Database made available nationwide to the public, shelters, and rescues a list of proven guilty animal abuser’s names and location, with enhance strict punishment against animal abusers

  12. Martha says:

    I think ALL animal cruelty should be stopped

  13. peter dillon says:

    Once again an animal abused left his dog outside in Irvington NJ this pasty Friday . So cold the vet had to amputate the dogs leg. Nauseating. Here is what I need if it exist. I need to know which states actually have a register for animal abusers. Every site I go to states the registry law is pending??

    • Hi Mr. Dillon,

      The only state that passed and actively has a statewide animal abuser registry is Tennessee. All other states have legislation pending to approve statewide registries, but to date, Tennessee is the only state that has one.

  14. Farmer Gal says:


    I am a mother and grandmother and have never hurt an animal in my life. As a kid, I was always bringing home hurt animals and nursing them back to health. My parents once found I was using my allowance to buy frogs that neighborhood boys were hurting.

    I am sure that many won’t believe me but I was once in a fight with neighbors and they decided to call animal abuse charges over and over and over. At first, people believed me but after a while, the local attitude was that “if there are so many calls, there must be SOMETHING to the complaints”.

    My reputation was ruined. I didn’t have the money to fight the charges so I signed over my animals to the state. I was suicidal and bedridden for years

    All this was because the new neighbors thought my animals would lower their property values.

    I think these registries are great — if society is willing to pay to investigate if accusations are true or if someone might have their own agenda

    • Angelina says:

      This my neighbors call on everything on us from my children to a garbage can on my grass and now the dog they called so much it’s anxiety i threw up so much I signed over my dog and now I’m facing animal cruelty charges ! Not everyone is an evil person it’s sad 😔 I don’t even spank my children never mind an innocent animal . My dog was shot 5 years ago and had his leg amputated that’s what the neighbors kept calling for after Dss case was closed a week later sanitation stopped coming by now they called on my 3 legged dog so I’m getting animal cruelty on my dog that was shot by an old neighbor I even have proof that I called and screamed for help they told me there was no officers ! But now I’m looking at 5 years in prison 😭😭😭

  15. R says:

    This should be treated no differently as sex offenders, registry, predators, background checks and punishment. The victims are the only difference. These victims have no voice to tell the stories.

  16. Toni Abercrombie says:

    This should be treated no differently as sex offenders, registry, predators, background checks and punishment. The victims are the only difference. These victims have no voice to tell the stories. We have to be their voice and put these abusers on blast! Abusers need to be punished to the full extent of the law as if it was a child.

  17. Myranda Lingham says:

    I was put on the list by accident how do I get off I have paper work stating I am not an abuser I spent seven hundred dollars to get my dog treated

  18. tor says:

    ” Since animal abuse is often an early sign of potential human abuse”

    This is actually untrue…no study has found a positive correlation between animal abuse and human abuse.

    In fact it is more likely for animal abuse to follow afterwards in the timeline from perpetrators who have committed violence against humans.

    Animal abuse needs to be taken seriously, but a registry is one of the least cost effective ways to handle such the matter and the only benefit it serves is the vindication of us humans- not animals.

    The aspca is against this for a very good reason:

  19. Karen says:

    This is amazing!
    Thank you Beth and Howard Stern!!!
    Kudos to you and all that you do!!!
    I wish our government could get their act together and have a domestic violence abuser registry.
    We need to do this for the DV victims/ survivor. The folks in charge need to take a page from your book!

  20. Leslie McDowell says:

    Every state must implement this law and the registry must be made public. Those that will abuse animals will abuse dependent humans as well.

  21. J . R. says:


  22. Chris Radford says:

    We need to know animal abusers in our area (Denton Co TX). Do you have a list of abusers that have been found guilty or prosecuted? If no, do you know how we can find the information? There are so many puppies/dogs being surrendered – it is terrifying they could be an abuser’s next victim!

  23. Rae says:

    Why is this not mandatory in all states? It’s 2023!

  24. Kathleen says:

    So the man from my hometown that went to prison for getting high on meth and raping a 2 year old did the exact same thing to his dog two years beforehand. It wasn’t taken seriously and he got his hands on a child because nothing was done.

  25. Lisa Zsenyuk says:

    I literally just thought of this idea … and I googled and found out that it already existed… disappointed I wasn’t a genius after all – but I see nothing in Michigan… perhaps I can start something here? Please advise.

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