Cruelty to animals, it is said, is often a precursor to graver crimes. So would there not be some usefulness to a registry of individuals convicted of felony animal abuse? Legislators in California want the Golden State to be the first to establish such a record — just as California was the first in the nation to create a registry of sex offenders.
The goal of the registry, which would list crimes against both pets and farm animals, is to make it easier for shelters and animal adoption groups to identify people who shouldn’t be allowed access to animals. It would also be a boon to law enforcement because animal abuse, the bill’s authors’ argue, often escalates to violence against people. Abuses covered in the bill would include the malicious and intentional maiming, mutilation, torture, wounding or killing of a living animal. It would also target pet hoarders and operators of animal fighting rings (such as dog-baiting and cockfighting) who have felony convictions.