Registry is senator's final "four-legged legislative priority" in honor of "Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month"
State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-I-60, has urged his colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly to act on legislation he introduced last year that would create a state registry of all criminals convicted of abusing animals. He said this is an effort to prevent these individuals from gaining access to another innocent victim.
Grisanti's bill, S. 1594, calls for the creation of an easily accessible statewide database listing anyone who has ever been found guilty of abusing an animal by prohibiting animal abusers from possessing, adopting, owning, purchasing or exercising any type of control over an animal as long as they are required to register.
"It is imperative that we take action to stop these types of crimes from happening in the future," Grisanti said. "As the proud and loving owner of two dogs, I know how important it is that we do whatever is possible to stop people from mistreating our four-legged family members. By putting a stigma to these crimes and making punishment equal to other assaults, we can make a difference. The passage of this law is a top priority to me."
According to the language of Grisanti's bill, any animal abuser who intentionally or knowingly fails to comply with the registration requirements or provides false information will be guilty of a felony, which is to be punishable by a imprisonment not to exceed four years, or a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both. Shelters and pet stores would also be required to check the registry when selling or adopting an animal.
"By reporting, investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty, we can keep these types of dangerous people away from the animals that we love," Grisanti said. "Studies have shown that acts of animal cruelty are often linked to other crimes that include instances of domestic violence, property crimes and the use or sale of illegal drugs."
In addition, studies have shown a connection between the abuse of animals and violence against people including a 2001-04 Chicago Police Department study, which revealed that, of those arrested for animal crimes, 65 percent had been arrested for battery against another person. Of 36 convicted multiple murderers questioned in another study, 46 percent admitted committing acts of animal torture as an adolescent. And of seven school shootings that took place in the country from 1997-2001, all involved boys who had previously committed acts of animal cruelty.
Grisanti first introduced legislation calling for the creation of a statewide database last April, and again in October 2012, following the reported incident of a Jake Russell terrier puppy being purposely set on fire by someone.
Grisanti is releasing his "four-legged legislative priorities" during the month of April in honor "Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month."
This is his final legislative priority (four of four; in no specific order).