Bill proposes registry for convicted animal abusers in Louisiana

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Louisiana may have its first animal abuser registry in the near future.

House Bill NO.161 is proposed by Representative Robby Carter.

It aims to create Louisiana’s first animal abuser registry and to prohibit a person convicted of animal abuse from owning an animal in the future.

The bill is currently in committee. It’s scheduled to be heard tomorrow in the House of Agriculture.

Robert Benoit, Assistant to Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, said, “What it does, it sets up a registry requirement where if you’re convicted of animal cruelty, you have to register within seven days and your conviction with your name, your address, your phone number, and all that sort of stuff, and you’re prohibited from owning animals for 10 years from the point of conviction.”

The Humane Society of Louisiana says this stricter punishment for offenders would help fight animal abuse.

Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, Jeff Dorson, said, “Animal rescue and public shelters can have access to those who appear on the list, and why that is important is because we don’t want to perpetuate cruelty. We want to prevent those who mistreated animals from getting other animals in the future.”

For a second conviction of animal abuse, one would be prohibited for life.

“The other thing good about it is even if you’re convicted in another state, you have to register with the Department of Agriculture, even if you’re moving in from another state within seven days as well so it covers pretty much everybody living in the state even if their conviction was elsewhere,” explained Benoit.

If the bill passes, those who are convicted of animal abuse who fail to register within the seven day period, could be fined up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail.  

Benoit said, “All the animal shelters or anybody selling or adopting pets will be required to check this registry before they sell or adopt a pet out so every animal shelter in the state, if someone comes to adopt, it’s going to take two minutes, go to the registry, look up their name, and if they’re not on it, they can adopt a pet. If they are, then they can’t. It’s an encompassing statute bill. We love it.”

House Bill NO. 161 also states if one is convicted of animal abuse, he or she shall pay a fee of $50 to the Department of Agriculture upon initial registration and annually from the first date of registration.

If passed, the bill will take effect at the beginning of 2020.

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