Groups push for animal abuse registry

 Groups push for animal abuse registry

PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon has a sex offender registry and now some groups want to add an animal abuse registry because they fear people who hurt animals will hurt children too.

Supporters of an animal abuse registry in Oregon said abusers of pets and of people look for small and vulnerable targets.

“It’s the same crime, just a different victim,” said Sharon Harmon with the Oregon Humane Society. “The people who commit those crimes are the same people regardless of whether it is a child, a woman, or a dog.”

Stephan Otto with The Animal Legal Defense Fund in Portland said an animal abuse registry could stop future crimes by making people more aware of the problem.

“Would you want to know if there was someone who had tortured an animal living next door to you?” he said. “And if you had that information, wouldn’t that help you make better decisions with regards to your pets and your family?”

At the top of an animal registry list for Oregon would be Vikki Kittles. Investigators said she packed more than a hundred dogs into a school bus in Astoria in the early 1990s where they left feces and urine caked on the inside of the bus. Some dogs were dying or dead.

She told officers she never let the dogs off the bus because they could get fleas. She was convicted and served time, but she has had troubles with animals in other states.

“We know for many hoarders, the moment they get released from jail is the moment they start collecting animals,” said Harmon.

She said with hoarders, pets are at risk because they will steal animals from the neighborhood to add to their collection. On the question of privacy for those on the registry Harmon said there is no question at all because abusers might see pets and people who are small and defenseless as easy targets.

“If you don’t want to be on the list, don’t abuse animals,” she said.
On the question of privacy the American Civil Liberties Union has challenged sex offender registries before, but representatives of the Portland ACLU office said they have no plans to challenge a registry for animal abusers. They said, however, that may change depending on the details of the proposal and what happens if lawmakers in Salem take up the issue.