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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 23, 2017 09:54 AM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Animal Abuse Registry
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to create an Animal Abuse Registry in Pennsylvania.

The link between violence against animals and violence against humans is well documented. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association considers animal cruelty as one of the diagnostic criteria of conduct disorder, which is defined in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as “a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age appropriate societal norms or rules are violated.” The FBI also identifies animal cruelty as one of the juvenile behaviors associated with increasingly violent behavior. By creating an animal abuse registry, similar to a sex offender registry, we will protect our communities by reducing the potential risk of new animal and human victims at the hands of repeat offenders.

My legislation would require persons convicted of an animal abuse crime to register their names, aliases, addresses, place of employment, date of birth, social security number, a recent photo and the offense for which they were convicted with the county sheriff within ten days. Their information will be kept on the registry for seven years. Any individuals with two convictions set forth under the registration requirements will have their information kept on the registry for 15 years. Anyone with three or more convictions will be subject to lifetime registration. The county sheriff will be responsible for maintaining a local registry and forwarding all registration information to the Pennsylvania State Police so they can maintain the required central registry that is available to the public.

The bill would also require offenders to update their information annually and any time their information changes. Those individuals who fail to register or reregister commit a felony of the third degree and those who fail to provide accurate registry information commit a felony of the second degree. Additionally, anyone who uses information from the animal abuse registry illegally commits a misdemeanor of the third degree for a first offense and a misdemeanor of the second degree for all subsequent offenses.

Tennessee became the first state to adopt a state-wide animal abuser registry in 2015. Since then, at least a dozen other states and countless local governments have introduced similar measures. Please join me in keeping our companion animals out of the hands of potential abusers. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my Harrisburg office at 717-705-1925.

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Introduced as HB1647