On January 1, 2016, Tennessee will become the first state in the union to have a public registry for convicted Animal Abusers. This is a public list, and it includes a name, photo and other identifying information to help prevent a convicted abuser from gaining ownership of another animal. Breeders or anyone needing to rehome a pet can check the list for a specific name, which may help keep pets out of the hands of dangerous felons.
Unfortunately, the names only remain on the list for two years, unless they have subsequent abuse convictions, in which case, their names will stay on it for five years. I wish it were longer, but this is a good start in the right direction!
This post is prompted by a very difficult phone call I had today. A sweet woman had a very serious aggressive situation going on in her home. Her ten month old puppy…a mixed breed weighing 51 pounds, had bitten two disabled adult family members in one week’s time. One of the individuals had been bitten twice the same day! One of the bites was more of a scratch, but the other two were serious punctures, and that’s never good….especially coming from a puppy!!! Puppies should never, ever think about doing any aggressive bites!
The dog’s owner told me a horrific story of how she had found this puppy while cleaning a vacant apartment. She kept thinking that she was hearing a dog panting, but the apartment was vacant, so she thought she was just hearing things. When the noise didn’t go away, she started doing some investigating. When she opened a closet door, she found an eight week old puppy, stuck to the carpet in multiple inches of feces, unconscious and unresponsive, covered in cigarette burns. She rushed her to our local animal shelter where the puppy started to receive emergency vet care. She was in renal failure from dehydration, and in critical condition. She obviously survived, but I’m honestly not sure that she didn’t receive brain damage in the process. Clearly, she had very serious emotional damage which eventually caught up with her.
This brings me to a sad subject….some dogs just can’t be saved, and this girl might very well be one of them. I really think she needed to have professional training intervention when she first came to her new home….and not eight months later. I’m not convinced that even professional help could have saved this dog, but it would have given her a much better opportunity to survive as a healthy whole dog.
Phone calls like this one today just haunt me. They absolutely do. This owner loves her dog, and wants the very best for her. She wants to see her become a safe dog, and live out her days with the family. However, the outcome for this dog will probably not be very good, and it breaks my heart in so many ways.
Naturally I want to see animal abusers charged, convicted and punished. I want to see laws in place so that they are unable to ever, ever, EVER get their hands on another animal to further practice their abuse. This Tennessee law is a good start, and I sincerely hope that other states follow suit!
I’m going to post a link to the actual bill, so you can read it for yourself. I encourage you to contact your own congressmen and request the same type of bill be passed in your own states. Something like this really needs to be in all fifty states so that an animal abuser can’t go to another neighboring state and get a pet across state lines.
Any step forward to stopping animal abuse is a step in the right direction.
Here’s a link for the Tennessee bill: http://www.tn.gov/sos/acts/109/pub/pc0413.pdf