8th Graders Propose Animal Abuser RegistryPosted by Pamela Hart, Director of ALDF's Animal Law Program on June 4, 2012
In early 2010, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) launched a campaign aimed at promoting animal abuser registry legislation across the country. One component of ALDF’s model abuser registry legislation requires mandatory registration and community notification for convicted animal abusers. Why is this important? Because animal abusers are not only a threat to non-human animals, they also pose a risk to humans and communities at large. In fact, studies show, that when compared to their next-door neighbors, people who abused animals were five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people, four times more likely to commit property crimes, and three times more likely to have a record for drug or disorderly conduct offenses.
The good news is the need for animal abuser registries has resonated with citizens and legislators nationwide. In 2010, the first animal abuser registry was formed in Suffolk County, New York. Since then, animal abuser registries have been introduced in several states and jurisdictions across the country.
While it is certainly encouraging that animal abuser registries have started to form, there is still so much work that needs to be done at the grass roots level. Enter eighth-grade students from Rio Rancho’s Cyber Academy in New Mexico. As part of a school project, these inspirational Cyber Academy students recently made a presentation to the Rio Rancho Governing Body urging legislators to consider animal abuser registry legislation in their January session. During the presentation, these motivated students argued that animal protection laws are vague and highlighted the need for tougher statewide laws, especially penalties for animal abusers. While we won’t know the effect this presentation had on legislators until January, these young advocates have already made a tremendous impact by sharing their vision of a safer community for all.