By: Corry Carr
You have heard of a sex offenders list,but what if there was an animal offenders list. Midlands animal shelters say they could benefit from this list because they would have better knowledge that the adopted animal will be in a safe home.
"There's so many people out there that just put them in their backyard and chain them up and never pay any attention to them. They either end up getting sick or getting picked up by animal control because they're not taking care of them." Pets Incorporated's Ruthie Player says.
Pets Inc. checks with potential adopters' veterinarians and landlords to make sure the animal is going to a good home. Player believes a database of offenders is needed because they see abused animals on a day to day basis.
"A guy was getting dogs from differ net places and he was slowly torturing and killing them so that's why we need to have that register out there, people need to be able to get on it and the police needs to be more involved in it," Player said.
The New York State Senate passed a bill in 2013 requiring convicted animal abusers to be registered as offenders, banning them from owning a pet. Offenders would also have to go through a psychiatric evaluation. Other states are taking note.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is currently working on creating a national Do Not Adopt Database of people who have been convicted of animal cruelty.
"ALDF supports a database of animal cruelty convictions that will provide shelters, rescue groups, and pet stores an additional tool to screen potential adopters and customers for animal abuse convictions. Animal abusers often go on to repeat their crimes, and such a database will help prevent them from acquiring and abusing more innocent animals," ALDF legislative coordinator Davi Lang said.
The Humane Society of The United States ranks South Carolina's animal cruelty laws as weak, 47 out of 51 in the nation. The possibility of getting the database supported in South Carolina may not be attainable.
"It would take a lot for something like that to happen... and the problem is everyone's going to see it as potentially a good idea but who is going to manage it and who is going to be responsible for it?" Columbia's Humane Society director Wayne Brennessel said.
Player believes that getting an animal offenders list in South Carolina starts with concerned citizens.
"We should always try to help any way we can. Don't be the one that doesn't get involved because you're saving an animal's life," she said.
For now supporters like Player will continue to be hopeful in the fight to end animal cruelty.