A public registry for animal abusers?: Genesee County Sheriff partners with advocacy group on new ballot initiative

A public registry for animal abusers?: Genesee County Sheriff partners with animal advocacy organization on a new ballot initiative
Photo credit Getty Images

(WWJ) Michigan Pet Alliance is teaming up with the Genesee County Sheriff to launch a ballot initiative next month that would create a registry for convicted animal abusers across the state -- helping to better ensure the safety of our furry friends.

The "Protect MI Pet" ballot initiative would allow Michigan voters to decide whether to create a public, statewide, searchable registry of convicted animal abusers.

Assistant Genesee County Prosecutor Alena Clark said during a Monday press conference that this would be similar to the registry that already allows people to search for sex offenders who might live in their neighborhood.

"These animals cannot defend themselves, they can't testify," said Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson.

"If you're going to beat, starve and torture an animal to death... then you've given up that right -- just like somebody who commits a felony is not able to possess a firearm."

If approved, the name of every convicted animal abuser in Michigan would be publicly accessible to everyone, including animal shelters, rescues, law enforcement, breeders and concerned citizens.

The "Protect MI Pet" initiative would also revise the state's current forfeiture process, so that seized animals spend less time in confinement while legal cases move through the court system. This would also ease the financial burden on animal shelters, which currently have to absorb the cost of caring for seized animals.

This announcement comes on the heels of several horrific animal abuse cases in Genesee County.

The leaders behind the initiative will hold a virtual discussion on Monday, Mar. 20, at 6 p.m. to talk more about the plan and answer attendees' questions. Anyone who wants to watch the virtual panel must register online.

There will also be a rally at the State Capital in Lansing on Tuesday, Apr. 11, to help get the word out and raise support for the proposal.

Should the current campaign be successful, the initiative will be on the ballot in 2024.

Anyone who would like more information on the "Protect MI Pet" initiative can visit the proposal's website.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images