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County Registry Meant To Prevent Convicted Animal Abusers From Buying Pets Goes Unused

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Cook County Sheriff's Office's database meant to prevent convicted animal abusers from buying pets has never been used during its years of existence.

Sheriff Tom Dart said he also needs to find answers as to why that has happened. His office is pointing at the judge and the clerk's offices.

Dart's office responded to CBS 2's request with the following statement:

"Animal abuse is a serious crime and we are concerned that no one has registered under the ordinance. We've reached out to the county clerk's office and the judiciary to determine who should have registered. Once we have that information, we will be able to immediately begin enforcing the requirements of the ordinance."

That ordinance directs judges to order offenders to register and directs the clerk to share that information with the sheriff's office, but it's unclear why that information hasn't made it there.

Leon Teague, who can be seen on video pouring a pot of boiling water on a cat, went to prison after the story went viral.

But his name cannot be found on the animal abuser registry. It's blank.

The registry was created by a county ordinance three years ago. It's up on the Cook County Sheriff's Department's website. It's meant to prevent convicted animal abusers from buying or adopting pets, but CBS 2's Tara Molina determined through Freedom of Information Act requests that there is nothing on it.

CBS 2 checked for Jerald Jeske, the West Town man who told his wife, "You love those dogs more than you love me," before throwing two chihuahuas off a balcony. One died, and the other was never found.

"We have an amazing tool that should be utilized," said Heather Weidmann with Whiskers and Tails Rescue. "I'm sort of speechless."

Weidmann does checks on people hoping to adopt.

"I started noticing that when you put in Chicago, which is one of the ways you can search, no names have been coming up," she said. "At all. It makes me very angry that people worked to get this passed, and rescues like us were ecstatic for it when it passed. And it's literally just been sitting there for three years."

The county clerk's office did not respond to CBS 2 requests for comment Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the chief judge's office said the matter is being reviewed.

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