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Animal Abuse Registry Proposed For Illinois

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     Trying to cut down on cases of animal cruelty. New legislation in Illinois looks to create an animal abuse registry. Many see it as another tool for people trying to find good homes for animals.

     If approved anyone in Illinois convicted of cruel treatment, aggravated cruelty, or animal torture will have to register annually as an animal abuser. The idea is similar to a sex offender registry and it would ban offenders from owning a pet, or working with animals at a shelter, zoo or other business - aiming to cut down on repeat offenses. The database would be accessible to the public. Officials at local animal shelters say they try to screen people looking to adopt, but right now can only dig so deep.

     "If they're found guilty then they should be on this do no adopt this for this registry so we know who to look for," said Vickie Sanders, President of Animal Aid Humane Society.

     "I'm for it. I think it's a good idea. I think I've heard studies showing that abusers of animals can go on to do other things that are even worse," said John Stanley of Coal Valley.

      Some are on board with a nationwide registry of this kind. A top official with the Humane Society of the United States thinks public animal abuse registries would do little to rehabilitate offenders. So far,  New York is the only state to pass an animal abuse registry bill but it's an issue several other states are considering.

     If passed in Illinois, convicted animal abusers would pay an annual fee of $50 and funds will go toward operating the registry. Offenders would first face a misdemeanor for not registering and then a felony for subsequent violations.

 

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