Growing support for animal abuse registry in Marion County

An animal abuse registry could be coming to Marion County.  It is designed to protect animals like 8-week-old "Simba," a kitten that  is waiting for a forever home. 

"I just love the companionship,” said Cora Hayes, who lives in Ocala and loves animals. “They give you a lot of fun! They’re fun to have!"

Marion County spokesperson Stacie Causey confirms that the Board of County Commissioners asked representatives Tuesday night from Marion County Animal services, The Marion County Attorney’s office, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to draft an ordinance about the proposed animal abuse registry.

"I think we do need one in Marion County,” Hayes said. “There’s a lot of people that do abuse their dogs and throw them out onto the side of the road."

Linda Little Wolf  is leading the registry charge.  She is modeling the idea after a county in New York. It’s still new, and the registry’s nuts and bolts are being created right now.  Wolf said, under this proposal, people who are convicted of misdemeanor and felony animal abuse crimes would be required to be on the list. The registry would have their names, address, and crime committed for example.

Other animals lovers, like Christina Michels, like the idea.  "Because, you know, animal abusers. They’re kind of like child abusers," she said.

Though it’s just a proposal at this time, the Sheriff’s Office said they would maintain and enforce the registry. The Sheriff has agreed to work with the Commission on this registry.

Animal lovers hope the ordinance becomes a reality.  "That they won’t be abused, and they’ll be well taken care of. And, the people that do abuse them will end up with some time from it," said Hayes said.

Those agencies will have until April to craft that ordinance, and present a plan to the Board