Illinois may be on the path to establishing a statewide registry for individuals convicted of animal abuse. State Senator Tom Cullerton, who has introduced similar legislation in the past, says that he intends to reintroduce the idea this January when the next legislative session begins.His proposed bill states that anyone convicted of aggravated animal cruelty, violations involving animals for entertainment, dog fighting and similar offenses will be required to register with the county sheriff for 10 years following their conviction.The offenders will be required to provide their name and any aliases, their date of birth, their current address and a photo. Further, the Illinois State Police would maintain a public central registry of offenders. If an offender fails to register, they will be charged with a Class 3 felony on their first offense and a Class 2 felony for any subsequent offense.
Cook County passed a similar bill back in 2016, which created an Animal Abuser Registry and made it a crime for anyone convicted of animal abuse to buy or adopt another animal for 15 years, or ever if they were convicted of more than one offense. However, it was recently revealed that the registry created by this bill had never been used. Proponents of the statewide registry believe that Cullerton’s proposal would offer a more comprehensive method of enforcement and prevent future violence against animals. However, some believe animal abuse registries may not be the best path to pursue.
Opponents of animal abuse registries are quick to point out that they can be expensive to maintain and are often underutilized.Further, other registries, such as sex offender registries, have not been shown to lower recidivism rates of the registered offenders.
We will continue to update you as more information on this bill and related issues becomes available.
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