Animal Abuse Registries

Animal abuse occurs daily in the United States, and ranges from neglect to intentional cruelty. In recent years, animal abuse registries have been dismissed by lawmakers as frivolous and unnecessary. But at the same time, certain cities – and even states – are taking the initiative to stop this heinous crime in its tracks.

So far, a handful of bills have been passed throughout the US, making animal abuse registries a hot topic amongst animal advocates. Suffolk County, New York was the first jurisdiction to develop a registry at a local level, with Cook Country, Illinois following suit shortly after. New York City also has its own registry. Currently, the only state-wide registry is in Tennessee, but as word of the registry spreads, more states are considering adopting the law.

How do animal abuse registries work?

Similar to how sex offenders are registered, every animal abuser will have their name, date of birth, offense, conviction date, and expiration date listed on an online database. First time animal abusers are registered for two years, with subsequent offenders receiving an additional 5 years each time an offense is committed.

In Suffolk County, convicted abusers must pay a $50 registration fee. All abusers 18 or older are also required to provide a recent photo, as well as any alternative names that they go by. Those who fail to register face a year in prison and maximum $1,000 fine.

While this is great news for all animals and animal advocates, it’s especially important for shelters and rescues. These organizations are able to access animal abuse registries, also known as “Do Not Adopt” registries, to determine whether a potential adopter has been deemed unfit to adopt a pet. The ultimate goal is to stop the cycle of animal abuse by preventing those who have been convicted of animal abuse crimes, such as dog fighting or hoarding, from acquiring more animals.

Want to join the movement and help put an end to animal abuse? Here’s how.


Animal Wellness is North America's top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.