TENNESSEE – Tennessee will become the first state to implement a statewide animal abuse registry.
Back in May, the Tennessee House of Representatives and Senate passed legislation allowing the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to create a website that compiles the names of animal abusers throughout the state.
“Tennessee will be one of the first states to have this go into effect. It was supposed to in October but they’re doing a little tweaking with the website,” said Greene County Greeneville Humane Society Assistant Manager Wendy Palmer.
According to Palmer, the law will serve as a deterrent.
“First time offenders will stay on the registry for two years…you know make them think twice before they…abuse or neglect an animal,” said Palmer.
Palmer said recently her shelter helped rescue a cat that was the victim of abuse.
“Miracle Milligan…he was shot with an arrow on October 22nd here in town in Greeneville,” said Palmer.
Milligan’s abuser has not been caught yet, but Palmer hopes the registry will help with future cases of abuse.
But the registry will not apply to every case.
“It would be felony charges, aggravated cruelties fighting dogs and stuff of that nature. But it does not pertain to livestock,” said Washington County TN Johnson City Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas.
Thomas told News Channel 11, counties in the region already communicate well with each other when it comes to cases of animal abuse and the registry will bolster that relationship.
“It’s just a matter of time before it actually probably kicks in to really do what it’s meant to do.”
The animal abuse registry website is set to launch in January 2016.
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