Wednesday’s front-page story about 20 small dogs abandoned overnight at the Johnson City Animal Shelter is just another example of why some people shouldn’t have pets. As Press staff writer Sue Guinn Legg reported, the animals were in very poor condition and appeared to be traumatized by their experience.
Animal abuse continues to be a problem in Tennessee. Every week, this newspaper carries several stories about local dogs and cats that have been harmed. Some of it is from neglect. Other times, however, it is a result of deliberate abuse. It’s the latter that we find particularly disconcerting.
Cruelty to animals is not only sick and inhumane, it’s a felony if committed against a household pet.
Animal abuse is often part of a pattern of other violent acts within families and society. Experts say those who abuse animals are also likely to do the same to spouses, children and other family members.
Tennessee legislators have begun debate on a bill to post the names of convicted animal abusers on an online registry, similar to the state’s existing registry of sexual offenders. One of the sponsors of the measure, state Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory, told WSMV-TV in Nashville the registry would help make sure animals find good and loving homes.
“Maybe you’re on Craigslist and you want to give an animal away, and you want to see who you’re giving your animal away to,” Jernigan said.
A registry of animal abusers could help provide that peace of mind.