BY: ROB HOFFMAN
If there’s anything more cowardly than an animal abuser, it’s an animal abuser forced to face an angry mob of baseball bat-wielding, pitchfork-flailing, gasoline-pouring activists thirsty for revenge. It’s a vision that will hopefully come to life on January 1st, 2016 once Tennessee releases America’s first animal abuse registry. Here, anyone can go online and sift through a database of names and addresses of puppy-beaters and kitten-killers, for those days when you need to let off some steam but are too broke for karate class.
Sponsoring the bill is state Representative Darren Jernigan, who says to Huffington Post “There are going to be consequences to harming animals in Tennessee…If you’re going to burn a cat or kick a dog, you’re going to pay for it.” And Tennessee’s isn’t actually the first to implement this sort of bill, either. New York City established their Animal Abuse Registry in 2014—and it even legally obliges offenders to shamefully contact the City Health Department themselves in order to be added to the list.
One of the benefits of the registration is that it aids humane societies in placing their animals in capable hands. Having a database of offenders allows them to research applicants to prevent their animals from entering harmful environments.
According to Huffington Post, you’re given a two year listing on the registration for your first strike, which can be bumped up to five years for repeat offenders. This listing is a testament to the belief that shame is often one of the best deterrents of crime. However when it comes to reform, as President and CEO of The Humane Society wrote in a blog post, “Shaming them with a public Internet profile is unlikely to affect their future behaviour—except perhaps to isolate them further from society and promote increased distrust of authority figures trying to help them.”
According to Huffington Post, you’re given a two year listing on the registration for your first strike, which can be bumped up to five years for repeat offenders.
Still, other states are beginning to flock to the initiative as well, planning to implement registries of their own. I suppose for many, it isn’t about reform—it’s about revenge.