Being a pet owner opens up your world by increasing your awareness of the world around you and makes you realise you are responsible for the care of another living thing that does not have a voice. Also, being a pet owner makes you aware there are millions of people out there who cannot or live in oppression thereby living in fear of voicing their concerns. In a way, I believe, being a pet owner forces you into another world that forces examination of your feelings and how you can nurture your pet. So, how can you protect your pet and ensure they live in a safe world? The answer, an animal abuse register can easily improve their lives in five different ways.
A purpose of the register is protecting the public from those who can harm them and in particular, protect those who struggle to speak for themselves. This means as a part of the register, a check will need to be completed before employment can be offered for certain professions or before a professional body can accept an application for professional registration (e.g. teachers, nurses, doctors, psychologists). It will protect those who cannot speak for themselves are protected from those who can do them harm and protect them from those who may prevent them from speaking out.
Animal cruelty tends to be a crime committed by younger people and serve as a gateway to more serious crimes. The animal abuse register fundamental role is helping those in need. How? Whilst the knowledge of being put on a register may dissuade some from participating or committing a violence against an animal. The power of the register lies in identifying those who have been convicted of animal cruelty. It will allow schools, social services, Councils, and other bodies to identify those who may need support, intervention, or help. It will keep them from coming into contact with children, animals, and the vulnerable. By identifying those needing help, through conviction of animal cruelty, it will allow programs to be put in place, protect others from harm, identify those who might benefit form community based programs and keep them from further harming animals.
In the United States many states acknowledge the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse, see . For example, Arizona the definition of domestic abuse includes animals. This allows the family pet to be included domestic abuse protection orders and it makes it easier to leave a domestic abuse situation. Furthermore, the recognition by several states in the United States regarding the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse demonstrates the United Kingdom is lagging behind other developed Western countries in this area of legislation.
In answer to the question, how can an animal abuse register stop domestic abuse? The register is the first step in improving the laws for domestic abuse. Many times in a domestic abuse situation, the abuser will either threaten the family pet or abuse the pet in order to gain control by using fear. Having an animal abuse register will make it easier for someone who is experiencing domestic abuse to feel safe if they leave because all of their needs are being addressed. Also, the register will increase the criminal sentence for animal cruelty, thereby protecting the public from the abuser.
It will be a tool whereby police can access information regarding those who have been convicted of animal cruelty. Unlike the Police National Computer, it will contain the name, address, and other relevant information of those convicted. It will work alongside other databases to help fight crime. Also, in some cases, it will help to deter people from committing animal cruelty thereby helping protecting animal and the vulnerable from abuse.
The current law lacks proper funding for enforcement and only provides six months in jail for the most horrific acts of violence. Having a register that includes proper funding for enforcement and tougher sentences sends a message about violence against animals not being tolerated. Also it sends another subtler message, violence is any form is not tolerated. I believe the power to transform UK society lies in the register ability to empower people. It gives information to people to decide about relationships, it provides a layer of protection, and provides a strong deterrent. By having a register, a little more control will be given to us and as a country the register will bring about a positive change.
Gandhi said a country is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. The animal abuse register is a way for the United Kingdom to care for its most vulnerable by keeping them from harm. I will admit the animal abuse register is not a panacea. It will not stop every case of domestic abuse and it will not, sadly, stop every incident of animal abuse. Nonetheless it fills a missing gap and it brings the United Kingdom in line with other countries. It offers protection and hope for the most vulnerable. By creating an animal abuse register it can be the firewall that stops someone from abusing and potentially help them to change their course in life. If the register can change one person's life for the better or protect one-person form abuse the all of the work will be worth it.