California Considers Tracking Animal Abusers Like Sex Offenders
Animal abusers would be tracked like sex offenders if California lawmakers have their way.
The state Legislature is considering a new proposal to establish a registry of names -- similar to widely used sex offender databases -- to track and make public the identities of people convicted of felony animal abuse.
The registry, which under the law would be posted on the Internet, wouldn't just include names. The bill calls for photographs, home addresses, physical descriptions, criminal histories, known aliases and other details to be made public.
Supporters say it's a way to notify communities and local police that animal abusers are living among them and to warn shelters to watch out for them if they try to adopt.
"In part, it's an attempt to give law enforcement a heads up when people like this are in their communities, so they can cut off problems at the pass," said Lisa Franzetta, spokeswoman for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which is leading a national campaign to get states to establish the registries..." More
ACTION ALERT: ALDF Petition Expose Animal Abusers
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) today launched an effort to help states establish public registries of anyone convicted of animal abuse. According to ALDF, such registries would protect animals, pet guardians and communities by preventing repeat offenses from anyone with a known history of abusing animals. This could include violence (torture, mutilation, intentional killings, etc.), sexual abuse, and animal fighting as well as neglect (such as hoarding).
Through its new campaign, www.ExposeAnimalAbusers.org, the animal protection organization is promoting model legislation that could be enacted in state legislatures. Such bills have been introduced in the past by elected officials in Rhode Island, Colorado, and Tennessee.
Today, the first-ever bill for a statewide registry in California was announced by its sponsor, State Senator Dean Florez. “We operate shelters in the hopes of giving abandoned pets a second chance at a loving home, not subjecting them to lives of continued abuse and neglect,” Florez said. “A registry of abusers would help ensure animals are not being adopted out to convicted abusers, end the cycle of abuse and increase the likelihood of finding these pets the forever home they deserve.”
Through ExposeAnimalAbusers.org, ALDF allows the public to urge their state lawmakers to propose legislation for state registries. Visitors to the website can also watch a short video explaining why an animal abuser registry is the best solution to preventing new cases of animal abuse and to create safer communities. At 10:30 a.m. Pacific on Monday, February 22, Sen. Florez will live stream his press conference from the “press room” of the website, where it will also be available for viewing following the event.
I hope that you will help bring attention to this much-needed legislation. I have included relevant links and background information below.
Let me know if you have any questions, or if you are interested in speaking with a representative from Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Megan Backus Media Relations Associate
Animal Legal Defense Fund www.aldf.org
( 707.795.2533, ext. 1010 F 707.795.7280
WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
- Post this information and your opinion on an animal abuser registry on your blog.
- Embed the Expose Animal Abusers video on your blog (link and code below)
- Tweet the link and spread the call to sign the petition. Here is a sample Tweet: “@ALDFAnimalLaw asks you to Expose Animal Abusers now! SIGN THE PETITION: http://bit.ly/animalabusers”
Expose Animal Abusers Petition: http://www.exposeanimalabusers.org
ALDF points to the following examples for why a registry is needed to help animal guardians, law enforcement and shelters protect their animals:
· Robert Rydzewski: In 2004, the then 29-year-old upstate New Yorker shot his neighbor’s dog in the face twice. Two months later, he killed another neighbor’s Welsh Corgi with an ax. Rydzewski was convicted of “torturing or injuring” an animal, and he has since been arrested for assaulting people and resisting arrest. His whereabouts are unknown.
· Shon Rahrig: While living in Ohio in 1999, Rahrig allegedly adopted several cats and a puppy from local shelters and tortured them sadistically. He poked out the eyes of a cat named Misty, broke her legs and jaw, cut off her paws, and left her bleeding in a laundry basket .His girlfriend turned him in, and he took a plea bargain that admitted abuse of only one animal. Rahrig was forbidden to own an animal for five years, but he was subsequently seen at an adoption event in California.
· Vikki Kittles: Since 1982, Kittles has been run out of four states for hoarding animals. Time and again, she has been caught housing dozens of sick, neglected animals in squalid conditions. Oregon prosecutors convicted Kittles in 1993 after finding 115 sick and dying dogs crammed into a school bus, but she has gone on to hoard animals again in Oregon and other states several times since.
About the Animal Legal Defense Fund
ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. Visit www.aldf.org.