Local animal shelters support S.B. 423

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A new bill would add convicted animal abusers to an online registry, just like sex offenders.

The first offense will get your photo and information on the public database for two years.

A second offense would put you on there for five years.

The North Carolina Animal Abuser Registry Act aims to protect animals in our state.

9 On Your Side went to the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina Thursday to learn about its possible impact.

Assistant shelter director Shelby Jolly supports the bill.

“It means a lot to me and my staff, it just shows North Carolina is going in the right direction as far as animal welfare,” Jolly said.

With up to 30 people a day coming in the shelter to inquire about animals, she said having access to a database of offenders would improve efficiency.

“On both our applications for dogs and cats, we already ask the question ‘Have you ever been charged with a violent crime related to animal abuse or neglect?'” Jolly said. “We do search names in our computers just to verify that it is correct, so having a database that we can quickly search it would save us so much time.”

Those looking to adopt also support the bill.

“If there is a cycle of not taking care of animals, it certainly sounds like it is an easier process for the staff and agencies to figure out who are true people that want a pet for the long-term,” Amber Price said.

Jolly said it is important the state takes measures to ensure animals are going to a loving family.

“They can’t speak for themselves, so we kind of have to speak for them. We want to make sure it is a forever home.”

The bill may also force abusers to give up their animals and prohibit them from owning any more.

If it is passed, it will go into effect in January.

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