AUSTIN (KXAN) - Texas House members will soon consider a bill that would allow people to track animal abusers online. This week, SB 779 passed on the Senate floor 30-1.
The idea for an web-based animal cruelty registry is something KXAN first reported in November. It is like the state's sex offender registry but for animal abusers. Anyone convicted of felony animal cruelty would go on this online, public database for 10 years.
The idea is to give people the ability to see where animal abusers live and what crime they have committed. It could protect your pet and even stop people who find homes for other animals from putting them into the wrong hands.
There is a hitch though because of the state's budget crisis. The registry will only happen if there is money for the Department of Public Safety to create and maintain it.
The similar DPS database for sex offenders costs about $1.4 million a year to keep going, so this might be a tough sell for the bill's author, Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston.
"This offense has shown that there's a pattern," said Whitmire. "If someone mistreats and abuses an animal involving, for instance dog fighting, it leads to more violent acts against other animals and quite often humans."
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