It’s not just for sex offenders anymore

But hey, maybe this will work on a different level:

In what could be a major step toward curbing animal cruelty, Rhode Island just passed a bill requiring convicted abusers to be placed on a statewide registry. The objective? To make sure they don’t adopt another animal.

According to KUTV, the bill was approved by the Rhode Island House of Representatives on Thursday and is awaiting Senate approval. Under the law, anyone convicted of abusing an animal would be required to pay a $125 fee and register with the database. The collection of names will be made available to animal shelters and adoption agencies, which will be required to check the registry before adopting out any pets. If the prospective owner’s name appears, they will not be permitted to adopt the animal.

The fee is presumably over and above whatever penalties were assessed the abuser.

Convicted abusers have five days to register, either from the time of their conviction if no jail time is mandated or from the time of their release. The prohibition on owning another animal lasts 15 years. If they’re convicted a second time, they would be banned for life.

The ASPCA, however, is critical of such legislation:

The group’s policy statement argues that registries are costly to maintain, not often utilized by adoption centers, and don’t address the potential for abusers to find animals in other ways. The group also asserts that registries may influence potential convictions, as defendants and their legal representation might plead to lesser charges to avoid being placed in the database. The ASPCA instead recommends court-mandated no-contact orders for convicted animal abusers.

I’m not sure how I’d prefer this to end up, except to say that either alternative is probably better than nothing.


  1. fillyjonk »

    31 May 2019 · 11:39 am

    I know a number of shelters/breed-specific rescues that already require would-be pet owners to go through some sort of background check and/or assessment to be sure they’d treat the animal well.

  2. McGehee »

    31 May 2019 · 2:36 pm

    Mrs. McG was involved with a local humane society that turned out to be run by animal hoarder.

    When it reached the point where literally no one could get approved to adopt, the group hemorrhaged volunteers and donors. We never dif hear how that ended up.

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