Alachua County considering creating animal abuse registry

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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla There aren't many communities in North Central Florida with laws to keep convicted animal abusers from buying or adopting pets, but Alachua County is considering amending a law to do just that.

"We just want to make sure that animals adopted locally are not being adopted to a bad family," said Gina Peebles, Assistant County Manager.

The County Commission is considering amending a local ordinance to create an animal abuse registry. Anyone convicted of animal abuse wanting to buy or adopt a pet-- and their name was on the list-- would not be able to.

"The registry would more than likely include their [the abuser's] name and contact info. I don't know if it would necessarily get into very specific graphic details on what their level of abuse was, but if they were convicted with animal abuse, then that would be the graphic key point," Peebles said.

"Pets have feelings and they need to be treated like everybody else needs to be treated and make sure they have good homes, and stuff like that, so I think it's a great idea," said Lynn Lock, a resident of Gainesville.

The registry may be modeled after Marion County's 'Molly's Law' passed one year ago. A database lets pet owners, sellers, and rescues verify their pets are not being placed with abusers.

The Alachua County Commission is also considering adding the registry ordinance to their state legislative agenda, meaning that they'll ask the state to have a state-wide animal abuse registry.

"I think that it should be state-wide, because you don't want the wrong person to get the animal that has a criminal background that has been convicted of abusing the animals," Lock said.

The ordinance would require public hearings and a vote by commissioners before it's passed.