Charlotte County cracks down on pet cruelty with animal abuse registry

Starting Monday, harsher penalties for animal abusers will go into effect statewide, and Charlotte County wants to take it a step further.

The Charlotte County Animal Control wants to create an animal abuse registry that would work much like a sexual offender registry.

Ponce’s Law or Senate Bill 1576 authorizes a court to prohibit certain offenders from owning or having custody or control over animals.

Charlotte County’s proposed database would show who has previously harmed animals.

Executive Director of the Animal Welfare League is one of the advocates who traveled to Tallahassee to push for Ponce’s Law.

“An animal cruelty registry would be wonderful for organizations like us because it will help us to keep animals from getting into the wrong people hands,” she said. “It’s devastating to see these animals come in and you know that something was wrong in their life.”

Volunteers like the idea as well.

“If they’re going to harm one pet, they’re going to harm another most likely,” said Volunteer Dottie Harrop. “It’s not a good idea for them to adopt pets if they’re not going to care for them.”

Animal lovers are hoping the registry will include a lifetime ban, something animal control say they aren’t opposed to including.

Someone would go on the registry for three years if convicted of their first misdemeanor, five years for their first felony and 10 years for any second conviction.