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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 9, 2015 02:15 PM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Animal Abuse Registry
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation that would create an Animal Abuse Registry in Pennsylvania.

Several states, including California and New York, have introduced similar legislation in recent history. Suffolk County, New York, passed legislation creating the nation’s first animal abuser registry in response to a barrage of animal abuse incidents in their area. Two other municipalities in New York, including its capital city Albany, have also enacted animal abuse registries in their jurisdictions.

The American Psychiatric Association considers there to be a high correlation between animal abusers and those who are violent toward humans. The U.S. Department of Justice also uses animal abuse as a marker for youth at risk of violent behavior. By creating an animal abuse registry, the community will be served by helping reduce the risk of new animal and human victims at the hands of repeat offenders.

Under this bill, persons convicted of an animal abuse crime will be required to register their names, aliases, addresses, place of employment, date of birth, social security number, a recent photograph and the offense for which they were convicted within ten days. Their information will be kept on the registry for ten years. Any individual with two or more convictions set forth under the registration requirements are subject to lifetime registration.

Offenders would be required 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. Those individuals who fail to provide accurate registry information commit a felony of the second degree.

The legislation would also require that those who must register pay an annual $50 fee, which will go into a restricted account to pay for the maintenance of the animal abuse registry. The sheriff in each county will be required to maintain a local registry responsible for forwarding all registration information to the Pennsylvania State Police. PSP will be required to maintain a central registry available to the public.

The restricted account to be established in the State Treasury will be known as the Animal Abuse Registry Fund. This fund will be used exclusively for funding the administration of the registry by county sheriffs and the Pennsylvania State Police.

This legislation amends both Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure). Co-sponsors of Senate Bill 320 (2013-2014 session) were Senators Stack, Erickson, Rafferty, Hughes, Teplitz, Brewster, Boscola, Costa, Ward, Smith, Wiley and Leach.

Introduced as SB527