COMMENTARY: Animal abuse registry is needed

This young female cat was found nearly beaten to death behind the Brookdale Arms apartment complex on Brookdale Ave. on Jan. 19, 2015. The cat wasn't expected to survive but she's making a miraculous recovery with vet treatment. (Photo/OSPCA)

I’m Bill Kingston with today’s commentary. For the past three months it’s been a regular, disturbing occurrence – people in Eastern Ontario and the Cornwall-area either charged or convicted of animal abuse. Unfortunately the courts are too lenient when a person can pay a fine and have a ban from owning animals for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The problem with the system is, once an animal abuser leaves our area, what’s to say they don’t get another animal in another community? The person is required to notify the OSPCA about a change of address but do you think the SPCA has time to chase down people who “disappear” into the community at large? And it doesn’t take long for animal abusers to get their next potential victim. Take the case of one Cornwall man, accused of abandoning a puppy, who ended up with a new dog even before SPCA inspectors finally caught up with him. Talk about disturbing.

If the courts aren’t going to take action then the government must. Maybe that first step is an animal abuse registry. One Albany, New York assemblyman is calling for one after a puppy in his area was set on fire, receiving second and third degree burns. Assemblyman Jim Tedisco has the right idea, saying people who abuse companion animals go on to hurt human beings. Tedisco’s bill would also require animal abusers to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. For the safety of society and for pets across this province, Ontario needs a similar registry and really needed it yesterday.

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