State to launch animal abuse registry in January
JACKSON, Tenn. — A list of people who abuse animals in Tennessee will soon go up on a state website for everyone to see. Starting Jan. 1, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will post a list of people convicted of animal abuse. “We see dogs that have been beaten, chained, denied food and water,” Downtown Dogs Group adoption coordinator Emily Strope said. Strope is part of a small, no-kill pet rescue in Jackson. She said they plan to check the registry once it is active. “I think it’s a great thing,” she said. “I think it’s a step.” The Jackson-Madison County Health Department oversees Rabies Control. Environmental Health Program Director Candy Overstreet said at this point the health department does not know how the registry will affect them or if they will check it before releasing animals. “If the law comes out in the Tennessee code annotated that we are to screen patrons or that felony accusers cannot adopt a dog, that may be a possibility,” Overstreet said. Strope said she hopes the registry makes more people aware of animal abuse. “Hopefully it will bring these people into the public eye, that it will bring more awareness to people that this type of thing does exist and in fact is pretty rampant,” she said. The TBI said only abusers convicted on or after Jan. 1 will be on the website. State law says the TBI will take animal abusers off the list after two years if they are not convicted of another animal abuse offense during that period.