We've all heard horror stories of animal abuse, locally and in the state. Well, now it turns out that a proposed bill to create an animal abusers registry in the Commonwealth has had a hearing on Beacon Hill. The bill, titled H. 1385, would establish an animal abuse registry for individuals convicted of an animal abuse crime and would be accessible only to animal shelters, pet stores and breeders to ensure that listed offenders don't have access to animals. The registry gives shelters and other entities better information on whether or not to place an animal with a certain person.

If an animal shelter, pet store or animal breeder violates the act by not checking the registry before selling or giving away an animal, he or she is subject to at least a $1,000 fine or jail time. Any subsequent offense will be punishable by a minimum fine of $5,000. Are there examples of a repeat abuser where a registry like this would have helped? According to experts the answer is yes. Of people who are connected to animal hoarding, 90 percent of them will re-offend.

If passed, Massachusetts would follow the lead of at least six counties in New York state. There's no doubt in my mind. With the frequency of animal abuse stories, better animal protection is especially needed in times like these for the sake of the animals.

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