In an effort to reduce — and eliminate — the number of animal abusers seeking to adopt a pet, Tennessee has become the first state to release an animal abuse registry.
As WKRN-TV Nashville reports, the registry launched Jan. 1, 2016, and will not only included the names of individuals who’ve been convicted after the first of this year of “intentionally abused animals,” it will post photos and where the offender lives.
Those placed on the registry will not be eligible to adopt animals from a shelter, said Lauren Bluestone, the director of Metro Animal Care and Control.
“This is very, very new. There are a lot of cities that have these types of lists, certainly nothing on a state-wide level,” Bluestone told WKRN. “It’s going to be another useful tool that agencies such as ourselves can do a little bit more research on individuals we encounter whether it be in the field or individuals that come to adopt animals.”
In recent months, both Massachusetts and New York have considered similar bills. Reportedly, Georgia and California are exploring bills in 2016.
Tennessee’s law came out of legislation passed in May and will see first-time offenders spending two years on the registry; five years for a second offense.
As Metropolitan Nashville resident Karina Thomson walked her dog, Vader, New Year’s Day, she told the station she is happy to see changes in the adoption process that reportedly only consisted of an application form.
“We are happy to know that there will be more measures taking place that are adequate for them and safe homes,” Thomson said of the new registry. “I think it’s a great start.”