New bill aims to create database of people convicted of animal abuse

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Some state lawmakers are working to establish an animal abuse registry for Indiana.

Several bills are filed at the statehouse this legislative session on the topic.

"What we're really trying to do here is protect the animals of our state," said State Sen. J.D. Ford.

Ford has filed a bill that would create a database of people convicted of an animal related offense. He said it would allow a shelter or store to view the information before a pet is sold or adopted. He points to Tennessee's database as an example.

"Pretty much we hear stories of animals who are severely abused. There's stories all the time about animals that are being shot or burned or whatever the case may be and that's very troubling behavior to me as a policy maker and so creating something like this will then be able to kind of show where is this all happening," Ford said.

Just last month, police said witnesses reported a driver who threw an abused puppy in a bag out a window on the far east side. Earlier in 2018, another dog was found shot in the face and doused with bleach.

Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon and State Sen. Jim Merritt also filed similar legislation.

"We certainly have animals that come in that have had abuse happen to them either physically or emotionally," Colleen Benson said.

Benson is the director of shelter behavior at the Indianapolis Humane Society, working first hand with animals. She says some can show signs of abuse.

"So some of the things we're seeing are greater behavior cases, we're seeing a lot of complex cases that we're having to work through with the individual animal," she said.

"Animal abuse in general is not something we want to see going on and we certainly want to avoid it at all  possible sending an animal to a home is something we're entrusted to do so we'd love to have a tool to help us do that better in some ways," Ford said.

All three bills filed have been referred to committees.

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