Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering the possibility of creating a registry for anyone who has been convicted of animal abuse.
The proposed registry would require anyone who had been convicted of harming an animal to give their name, address and a photograph to the state, ABC News reports. The Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services would then provide that information to breeders, pet stores and shelters who would be required to check the registry before allowing a pet to be sold or adopted.
Earlier this year, according to the ABC News, Tennessee became the first state to create a statewide registry of animal abusers. New York City also has a citywide registry in place. The state of New York has considered (but not yet adopted) a similar bill.
Massachusetts has steadily been stiffening the penalties that those convicted of animal cruelty could face. Last year, the state passed a law called the Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety Act (PAWS) which increased both the amount of prison time an animal abuser could face, as well as increasing the maximum amount that they could be fineds. It also required veterinarians to report any suspected incidents of animal cruelty to the police — and any vet who failed to contact the authorities could be reported to the state board. A registry of animal abusers was proposed as part of the bill, but was not included in the final law.
Tennessee’s animal cruelty registry goes into effect on January 1, 2016, and will be publicly accessible on a website. If the state of Massachusetts approves its own registry, it would not be made public. First time offenders would remain on the list for two years and would have to pay $50 each year in administrative costs.