Lawmaker Wants Registry For Animal Abusers

Jan 22, 2014

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

  Illinois has registries for sex offenders and for those who've harmed children. Now a lawmaker wants to create a registry for people who've hurt animals.

Representative Toni Berrios' proposal would create a registry for animal abusers, to be maintained by the state’s Department of Agriculture. Once on the registry, a person couldn’t buy a companion animal, or be employed in a job involving animals.

Berrios, a Democrat from Chicago, says the current penalty for a first-time offender is too light.

"They get a class A misdemeanor, they pay the fine and they keep going," she said. "We want them to register because we do not want them to adopt or even purchase another pet or even work in a location that has animals."

The punishment for first-time offenders would be increased to a felony. Failing to register could result in up to six months of jail time — something Berrios says would deter repeat abusers.

Currently, no state agency keeps tabs on animal abusers. Berrios is also seeking an increase in the penalty for first-time animal abusers.