Arizona Capitol

Arizona Animal-Abuser Registry Proposed

An Arizona lawmaker is again proposing a registry of convicted animal abusers.

The bill proposed by Democratic Senator Steve Farley would lead to the creation of a website that would operate similarly to the state's sex-offender registry, allowing the public to search for convicted animal abusers by name or location.

Farley has proposed this registry for several years running, although it's failed to get considerable traction from state lawmakers. Farley tells tells New Times he's proposed it "at least" four years straight now.

"What I'm particularly intrigued with this year is that [Republican Senator John] Kavanagh has a bill to prohibit people from who have had been convicted of certain animal crimes from owning an animal," Farley says. What better way to enforce this than with a registry of animal abusers, he adds.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has been running a nationwide campaign for animal-abuse registries, and although it's been proposed in several states, no statewide registry has ever been put on the books.

According to the specifics of Farley's bill, a person would land on the registry for a year for their first conviction of bestiality, cruelty to animals, animal fighting, presence at an animal fight, or equine tripping. A second conviction would lead to a lifetime on the registry. Failing to register would be a misdemeanor offense.

Farley says the lack of a uniform database is a negative for animal-control officers or pet sellers who may be very interested in someone's history of abusing animals. Plus, for the public, Farley pointed out the apparent connection between violence against animals and violence against humans, which could make someone want to know if their neighbor's been convicted of such a crime.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley