Pa. lawmakers' proposed animal abuse registry will keep abusers from owning pets for 15 years

Enacted in 1994, the nationwide Megan’s Law requires sex offenders and child abusers to make their information available to the public and inform neighbors of their crimes. And in Pennsylvania, animal abusers might soon appear on a similar list if Rep. Mike Carroll has his way.

Dubbed House Bill 265, Rep. Carroll’s co-sponsored measure hopes to have convicted animal abusers register with their county’s sheriff and report to them once a year for the next 15 years. Additionally, abusers will be required to inform animal shelters, humane societies, and schools within a half-mile of their home about their past infractions.

HB-265 also will establish a state police-run registry of animal abusers that will be publicly searchable, and names on that list will be barred from owning a pet for 15 years. The registry’s information will reportedly come from district attorney’s offices around the state. That move mirrors the Animal Defense Legal Fund’s own efforts to establish a national animal abuse registry, which they started late last year. 

The bill is currently sitting in the Judiciary Committee, where it has until November to get some traction. However, Rep. Carroll says that it has seen widespread bipartisan support. 

So, this one’s likely to pass. Maybe while they’re at it, they can make leaving your dog outside in extreme cold illegal, too. Currently, there is no law preventing that type of abuse.

My, how we are behind the times.