VIERA, Fla. — Brevard County is the latest county to have an animal abuse registry.
- Registry would list those convicted of animal cruelty
- County would maintain the registry
- Adopters/sellers would have to check it before giving someone an animal
- READ: Brevard County's Animal Abuse Registry Ordinance (.pdf)
County commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday in favor of the proposed ordinance, which they first supported in December.
The registry would include people convicted of an animal abuse violation in Brevard County based on state statutes, including cruelty to animals, fighting or baiting animals, sexual activities involving animals and animal abandonment.
People who sell or adopt out animals are meant to make sure to check the registry to make sure a potential buyer/adopter is not on the list.
The ordinance also says that the county has to maintain the registry, but since it relies on other sources of information, it makes no guarantee regarding the accuracy or completeness of the registry.
Supporters see the registry as a way to stop repeat offenders from getting access to animals. Marion and Volusia counties both have animal abuse registries. Volusia County added its registry last year in the wake of the Ponce case, where a puppy was beaten to death.
Among critics, however, are the ASPCA. The animal rights group is asking supporters to email county commissioners in opposition to the ordinance.
"These registries create a false sense of security and could cause prosecutors and law enforcement to reduce or simply dismiss cruelty charges, resulting in fewer abusers convicted," the ASPCA says on its Advocacy Alert page.
The group says the cost of maintaining a registry can be around $200,000 annually. But meanwhile, Marion County's registry, for instance, which has been in place for years, has only eight people listed.
Commissioner Bryan Lober, who sponsored the ordinance, said he got a slew of emails, likely from ASPCA supporters. He said the database was being set up through pro bono work and would not cost the county that much money at all. He said overall it would probably cost a couple hundred dollars.
Lober also said there is no evidence that prosecutors or law enforcement would dismiss cruelty charges because of the registry. He said he even talked to State Attorney Phil Archer, who said that would not happen, and that if someone on the registry was charged with a new offense, they would pursue harsher penalties.