TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — With so many cases of animal abuse, animal abuse registries are a hot topic. However, Tennessee is the only state in the country with a public registry.
But now, New Jersey could follow suit if Assemblyman Troy Singleton has his way, CBS2’s Emily Smith reported.
The legislation would require convicted animal abusers to register, and anyone would have access to the information by going to the Garden State’s Department of Health website.
It sounds like a good idea to many animal lovers, but it’s getting mixed reviews.
Ed Wengryn, a research associate with New Jersey Farm Bureau, feels the bill should only list people who have been criminally convicted, saying it is unfair for civil complaints.
“If somebody was taking care of a neighbor’s pet and it died and the neighbor sued them then you would wind up on the registry and that we find problematic,” he said.
New York City implemented an animal abuse registry in 2014, but it isn’t available to the public. It only allows animal-related businesses and organizations to access it to screen potential employees and customers. People who appear on the registry are forbidden from owning or having physical contact with animals for five to 10 years.
If the bill passes in New Jersey, the names and faces behind the abuse would be open to the public just like in Tennessee. It would prohibit convicted offenders from having a pet for two years or working with pets.
“I don’t think pet stores are checking who can own a pet, but more importantly it’s who can work with animals,” Wengryn said.
The Center for Constitutional Rights said this is a form of public shaming and that it can be full of errors and rarely works.
“Some of the reasons people want this kind of law are well-meaning, but it doesn’t do what it sets out to do,” a spokesperson said.
The bill still needs approval by the Assembly and Senate and would then need the governor’s signature.