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North Carolina bill would add convicted animal abusers to an online registry, like sex offenders

Animals lawyering up?

A North Carolina bill would put animal abusers' names and faces on an online registry, much like a sex offender registry. The North Carolina Animal Abuser Registry Act was introduced by Senators Floyd McKissick and Danny Britt. 

If the bill becomes a law, anyone in the state who abuses an animal after January 1, 2020, would be added to a public database. After the first offense, the animal abuser and their photograph would be on the registry for the next two years. A second offense would put the abuser on the list for five years. 

The bill states that animal abusers may be forced to give up any animals they own. A repeat offender who is added to the list multiple times would have to give up their animals and would not be able to own any other animals for the next five years, the bill proposes.

Around the same time North Carolina's Animal Abuser Registry Act was introduced, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed "Tommie's Law," which increases the penalty for animal abusers from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony, WFMY reports. That means animal abusers in the state could get one to five years in prison.

People from other states reacted to these bills on social media, including residents of Iowa, Arkansas and Maryland, hoping their state lawmakers would follow suit. A Change.org petition was created to urge lawmakers in Maryland to introduce an animal abuser registry, similar to the North Carolina bill.

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