A new bill that would create a statewide animal cruelty registry was introduced into the Senate Law and Justice Committee yesterday.
Senate bill 6234, which is modeled after a law passed in Tennessee last year, was sponsored by Senator Joe Fain, a Republican from Auburn. Senators from both parties are co-sponsors.
Last year Senator Fain was also the lead sponsor on a bill signed by Governor Jay Inslee that toughened the penalty animal abusers and made it easier for law enforcement to intervene in cases of animal cruelty.
The bill requires the Attorney General to “maintain a registry of persons convicted of an animal abuse offense and make the registry available for public inquiry on the internet.” The registry will contain the person’s name, date of birth, residential, address, all animal abuse offense convictions, conviction dates, and a picture of the abuser.
The bill applies not only to residents of Washington convicted of abuse, but also to any convicted abuser who establishes residence here as well as those who are here temporarily like college students.
Last year the FBI made animal cruelty a Class A felony like homicide or arson and assault. And starting this month, the FBI started tracking and monitoring animal neglect, abuse, torture and animal fighting whether it be intentional or due to reckless behavior.
This is great news for Washington, and it’s long overdue. Animal abuse is a horrible crime, and studies have shown a correlation between it and other forms of violence. Citizens deserve to know who in their communities are animal abusers.
I can’t imagine why this bill won’t pass. Who would possible oppose a bill requiring the state to keep a list of convicted animal abusers (except convicted animal abusers)? I’ll watch carefully to see if anyone steps forward to oppose it.
Many thanks to Senator Fain for introducing this bill. He’s fast becoming one of the biggest champions of pets in the legislature. You can post a note on his Facebook page to thank him for being a champion of animals.
I’ll keep you updated as the bill goes to the legislature and hopefully, to Governor Inslee’s desk for his signature.