Advocacy Alert

Osceola County, Oppose Proposal That Could Leave Animals More Vulnerable to Abuse

Osceola County, Oppose Proposal That Could Leave Animals More Vulnerable to Abuse

Update—November 9, 2018: Unfortunately, the ordinance to create an animal abuser registry was passed by the Commission. Thank you to everyone who spoke up on this issue.

The Osceola County Board of Commissioners are considering a well-intentioned but misguided local ordinance that could have serious consequences for animals and leave them more vulnerable to abuse.

Osceola County Commission Ordinance 2018-69 would require anyone convicted of animal cruelty to be listed on a public database and contains high fines for people who transfer an animal to someone listed. While this may sound like a good idea at first glance, there is no evidence that animal abuser registries reduce acts of cruelty. In fact, they may even do more harm than good by diverting resources from programs that help prevent cruelty before it occurs.

Abuser registries create a false sense of security and could encourage prosecutors and law enforcement to simply dismiss cruelty charges, resulting in fewer abusers convicted. What’s more, establishing and maintaining a registry can cost upwards of $200,000 annually—on an unproven and impractical tactic. Marion County’s registry has been in place for years, and it only has three people on it.