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Hills. to consider registry for animal abuse

Posted: 5:06 PM, Feb 03, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-03 17:26:17-05
We protect our families by checking sex offender registries. Why not do the same for our pets?
 
"It's going to be a good resource for us, a good tool just to help us know that we're not sending an animal into a known abusive home. That's the last thing we ever want to do,” said Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Pam Backer.
 
Backer and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay support the push for a new Hillsborough County registry to track animal abusers. Commissioner Kevin Beckner introduced the idea with disturbing pictures of animal abuse cases.
The animal abuse registry would make it easier for shelters to screen adopters and give you a way to check out your neighbors.
 
"Animal abuse can be both a predictor and indicator of other forms of violence such as sexual abuse, elder abuse, spousal and or child abuse,” said Dr. Betsy Coville.
 
A forensic vet says animal abuse is a stepping stone for other criminal violence. So much so, the FBI started tracking animal abuse cases at the beginning of the year nationwide. 
 
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay believes a local registry would be invaluable.
 
"It's basically the idea is that it would be very similar to that of the sex offender registry,” said Backer.
 
"If you have found that these pictures to be shocking, you may also find equally shocking that 70 percent of animal abusers have criminal records,” he said.
 
Commissioners voted 5 to 1 to get the county attorney working on the ordinance.
 
If it moves forward, the public will get the chance to weigh in.