Tennessee will begin posting the names of convicted animal abusers online as part of the nation’s first statewide Animal Abuse Registry.
Beginning on January 1, 2016, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will start posting the names of animal abusers online.
Similar to sex offender registries, Tennessee’s new program will be the first statewide program in the country.
WJHL, News Channell 11, reports that “the Tennessee House of Representatives and Senate passed legislation” in May “allowing the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to create a website that compiles the names of animal abusers throughout the state.”
State Rep. Darren Jernigan of Nashville, a Democrat, was a sponsor of the bill.
“We want to put it in one spot so someone in Memphis can’t drive to Knoxville and get an animal if they’re going to abuse it. It’s going to be statewide,” he said in an interview with WREG, News Channel 3.
“Tennessee will be one of the first states to have this go into effect. It was supposed to in October but they’re doing a little tweaking with the website,” said Greene County Greeneville Humane Society Assistant Manager Wendy Palmer.
A person convicted of hurting an animal would have their picture up for two years, but if convicted again, their picture would be up for five years.
Washington County TN Johnson City Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas told News Channel 11 that: “It would be felony charges, aggravated cruelties fighting dogs and stuff of that nature. But it does not pertain to livestock.”
Marx-Sanders, one of the lobbyists who helped make an animal abuser registry a reality, told News Channel 3 that the registry is a great start, but there’s more that needs to be done:
It does need to be expanded to include state-level misdemeanors, which are just a little bit lower on the cruelty scale than the felony level, but is still neglect and cruelty.