Shine the Spotlight on Animal Abusers

Target: Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox

Goal: Hold animal abusers accountable by implementing an animal abuse registry that identifies cruel perpetrators.

Several states, spanning all regions of the country, have enacted animal abuse registries that publicly identify those convicted of a felony animal cruelty offense. Many more states have proposed similar legislation. A Virginia Senate committee recently unanimously passed such a measure, but the bill faces potential obstacles from critics who deem the action ‘unaffordable.’

The costs of animal cruelty far outweigh any financial expenditure, however. Currently, shelters have no means of identifying dangers among potential pet owners. Without a proper avenue for background checking, too many shelters hand over disadvantaged pets to owners who exploit and torture them for personal gain or pleasure. These animals face a bleak future, if they have any future at all. Animal abusers impact the larger society as well. A disregard for animal life will often foretell a similar view toward human life. Domestic abusers and other violent criminals frequently share one commonality in their pasts: cruelty to animals.

Just as we warn communities about threats to their children or other innocents, we have an equal obligation to alert citizens to the dangers posed by those who would mistreat animals. Sign this petition and demand that Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Kirk Cox make passage of an animal abuse registry act a top priority.


Dear Speaker Cox,

With states from New York to your neighboring Tennessee, a clear trend has emerged in the ongoing discussion about animal welfare: inhumane treatment will not be tolerated.

Creation of an animal abuse registry gives pet distributors an invaluable tool in safeguarding the well-being of vulnerable animals by providing a means of checking potential purchasers’ backgrounds. Every day, animals who have no means of defense are subject to torture, mutilation, burning, maiming, and all means of atrocities at the hands of abusers entrusted with their care.

Further, studies show a strong correlation between animal cruelty early in life and violent acts against society later in life. The pattern stands clear, whether the crime in question is abuse toward women or children or the most horrifying acts of murder. An animal abuse registry would send the undisputed message to perpetrators and communities that animal cruelty is not merely a petty offense but a serious crime against its victims and against societies in whole.

Cost should not be a make-or-break issue for a vital step that could be enacted with compromise and collaboration, just as similar measures have succeeded across the country. This proposal enjoys broad support from organizations and citizens of every background statewide.

Listen to your constituents and support immediate passage of an animal abuse registry today. The investment in our future trumps any perceived cost.


[Your Name Here]

photo credit: Dave Parker

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  1. Lisa Zarafonetis says:

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