More States Consider Adding Animal Abusers to National Registry

Animal abuse is linked to homicide, and some Senators are taking a stand.

Notorious serial killers and mass shooters including Ted Bundy and school shooters at Columbine and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High had a history of animal abuse. Harming animals is known to be a gateway to crimes against humanity. 

Lawmakers are taking note of the warning sign and pushing for their states to add the names of animal abusers to the public national registry.

New York Republican State Senator Jim Tedisco referred to animal abuse as a "bridge crime." Tedisco is sponsoring the New York bill to put people who harm animals on a national list that everyone can access. Eleven other states are joining in the movement including Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.

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Tennessee already has a list started in 2016. Some cities, including New York City, Chicago, and Tampa, have their own state-wide registries as well.

In the country's most recent mass shooting, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High former student Nikolas Cruz reportedly bragged about shooting small wildlife

The purpose of the national registry, though, is not to predict mass offenders. Rather, it is to protect animals from abuse by preventing registrants from adopting or purchasing a pet. However, public officials recognize the clear benefits of having a national registry to flag potential violent criminals.

While a surge in mass violence has paved way for the recent haul in national registry advocacy, historically it has been high-profile animal abuse cases that bring such a proposed bill to the forefront.


Gary Rogers of the Nassau County Humane Society in New York is calling for the state to establish its own registry. Rogers currently oversees his county's registry which was started in 2014. 

Rogers told King5:

"There really needs to be a statewide law. Otherwise, someone on our registry can just go to another county to get an animal."

Activists against the national registry instead are pushing for stronger, more effective anti-cruelty laws and no-contact orders for offenders.

What do you think of a national registry? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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