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Mich. legislator’s bill seeks animal abuser registry

By Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press –

EAST LANSING, Mich. — People in Michigan who are cruel to animals should have to register just as sex offenders do, a state lawmaker said Friday.

Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, introduced a bill to create an animal abuser registry similar to the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.

“Look at the serial killers that we’ve had in this country,” Santana said during a taping of public TV’s “Off the Record” at WKAR-TV in East Lansing, Mich. “Haven’t they all started off abusing animals?”

Under the proposal, those convicted of animal abuse would have to register, pay a $50 fee and notify police of address changes.

Photos and other information about them would be open for inspection at local police agencies and could be posted on the Internet.

No state has approved such a registry, though Suffolk County, N.Y., has had one since 2010, and legislation is pending in at least five states.

“I think it’s a spectacular idea,” said Lisa Wallace, president of the Animal Placement Bureau in Lansing. “There are not a lot of consequences for animal abuse.”

The Michigan ACLU opposes registries as ineffective, costly and a hindrance to rehabilitation, spokeswoman Rana Elmir said.

The Michigan State Police would administer the registry, but “I’m not sure we have taken a position” on creating it, said spokeswoman Shanon Banner.

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