Can We Really Trust UK Adoption Agencies?

Maxine falls park
Maxine falls park
Maxine taking a momentary break for a chat at the falls

One of the regrets of my life is never having children and the reason for me not having children, I was abused by mental health professionals. They told me I would be a bad mother and as a result, I underwent tubal ligation. Thereby ending any chance of having children.

When I returned to my country, I explored IVF only to be rejected. I had thought about fighting the decision but in the end chose not to fight it. I also explored having the tubal ligation reversed. However, I was advised if I did then I will need to have additional microsurgery to remove any scarring and the scarring from the procedure might be too much for me to get pregnant. Then a few years ago, I had elevated levels suggesting I might have ovarian cancer and I underwent a hysterectomy, which finally ended any hope of having a child.

After having the procedure and coming to terms with my past, I began looking at adoption. As I began looking into adoption, I was shocked that members of the child’s birth family may still be in contact and the amount of screening you are subjected to before you are approved. Worst yet, when I speak with agencies that ask about pets. I am advised that I may need to get rid of my pets because the child may be allergic, may not like the pet, or if the pet is aggressive towards the child then the pet will be removed.

It is the latter issue I want to speak about now. If the agency is to be working in the best interest of the child and the child had allergies to pets then why place them with a family that loves pets? I would suspect, a family that had to give up their beloved dog or cat for a child might feel some animosity. Likewise, if the child had allergies to pets and was placed in a home where pet hair will remain, even after cleaning, is that family the best placement. How come the agency cannot provide an allergist to help the child cope with their pet allergies? Instead of requiring the family to give up their pet?

The trouble I have with the questioning about pets is, why do adoption agencies see pets as disposable? How come adoption agencies expect the pet to be removed instead of trying to find a workable solution? What about the pet and its care? What responsibility does the adoption agency has to that pet and to the family? Would that child be better placed elsewhere?

My questions may sound callous and heartless; however, there is a point. The point I am trying to make, pets are a part of the family and the family pet becomes a focal point of the identity of that family. If the family has to remove the pet because of adoption then the family loses a part of their identity. Likewise, the pet loses a caring and loving home that cares for it. The pet is put into the system that tries to find it another home. For some families losing their pet can be upsetting and troubling. I find, asking a family to remove a pet for adoption without providing support for the pet and support for the family, is callous.  Is the adoption agency truly acting in the best interest of the child by finding them the best possible family or is the agency trying to unburden themselves?

For me, my pets are a part of my family identity and I could not give them up. Instead, I expect the adoption agency to work with me in finding a child that is compatible with my home life and provide the support necessary to make it the best situation for all (including pets). By working with my lifestyle and understanding my needs, I believe an adoption agency is truly working in the best interest of the child to ensure the best possible outcome for all involved.

In conclusion, trying to start the adoption process in the United Kingdom leaves me sad. I believe, it is probably in my husband’s best interest and mine to look outside of the United Kingdom to adopt. Unfortunately the cost to adopt abroad will most mean I will never be able to afford to adopt and also, it will mean a child in need of a loving home in the United Kingdom will either have to wait longer or never find it because of the bureaucracy of the process. Whilst I understand the term “in the best interest of the child,” I have to question if adoption agencies are truly acting in the best interest of the child or finding reasons to deny loving homes to children?

 

Life Work of Maxine Berry: Fighting to End All Forms Abuse and Mistreatment

falls park at night
Maxine falls park
Maxine taking a momentary break for a chat at the falls

Introduction

Maxine Berry is not just the Managing Director of Brighter Tomorrow Limited (UK)). She is also a tireless campaigner who is fighting to end all forms of abuse and mistreatment. Below is a listing of articles rearding the work of Maxine Berry

Animal Rights

Animal Rights Activist  (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Thousands Sign Justice For Chunky Petition (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Justice For Chunky Petition (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Go Fund Me (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Half a Million People Justice for Chunky Campaign (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Brits Call for Animal Abuse Register After Justice for Chunky Campaign (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Chunky the Dog Inspires Petition for Animal Abuse Register (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Abuse of Chunky the Chihua Sparks Pleas to Ministers (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Campaigners Want Justice for Chunky (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Animal Lovers Urge the Government to Change Animal Cruetly Laws (last accessed 12 Agusut 2017)

400K Sign Petition After ‘Sick’ Dog Cruelty (last accessed 12 August 2017)

This Dog Presented A Petition to the Government to End Animal Cruelty (last accessed 12 Agust 2017)

Plaid Cymru Calls for Wales to Have Animal Abuse Register (last accessed 12 August 2017)

False Memories

How False Memories of Abuse Almost Destroyed a Young Life (last accessed 12 August 2017)

FMSF Newsletter (last accessed 12 August 2017)

The Women Brainwashed by Therapists to Believe Their Parents Abused Them (last accessed 12 August 2017)

Daily Mail Article on False Memories BFMS (last accessed 12 August 2017)

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Contact

If you are the media or have a quiestion regarding Brighter Tomorrow please phone: 07864 651 070. Otherwise for general questions please use the below contact form.

Maxine Berry Justice for Chunky Campaign Animal Abuse Register

maxine and chunky

Introduction:

My beliefs and Why this Page

Maxine falls park
Maxine taking a momentary break for a chat at the falls

I believe the best way of providing a brighter tomorrow for everyone, in the UK, is by implementing an animal abuse register to help end animal cruelty. Furthermore, I believe to get the best result for the animal abuse register in the United Kingdom is by reaching out to those who are interested in the register and reach a common vision. My husband and I are quite accessible. Either of us are willing to speak to anyone at anytime regarding our vision for the register and how the campaign can help them.

Sadly, very recently I have become aware of  third-parties, not affiliated with the Justice for Chunky Campaign, providing false information about the campaign’s position on the animal abuse register. At the moment I am mortified that this has happened and I am addressing the issue with those who hold the wrong data. At a minimum, I believe giving out wrong information about the Justice for Chunky position without authorisation and without contacting us for clarification, is negligent. By negligently giving out wrong information I believe, it also amounts to a breach of the Data Protection Act and at worst amounts to defamation.  In order to combat the spread of wrong information about the campaign, I am putting together this page to clarify the campaign’s position and it will be periodically updated.

Underpinning of My Vision

I believe, government has a contract with the people it represents. As a part of that contract, people give up certain rights in order to have protection, security, property rights; and safety. This means, I believe, the role of government is limited. It means government can better provide rights instead of having a feudal system whereby each individual tries asserting their rights and fighting, if necessary to the death, to protect them.

As a nation, Britain has moved beyond a feudal system, whereby individuals assert their rights through force, to a parliamentary democracy. In order for a government, I believe, for a government to define its relationship with those who have elected them, a government pass laws to fulfill its duty to the people. Elections are, I believe, away of either reaffirming the relationship by keeping the status quo or by seeking a redefinition of the relationship by electing a new government. Therefore, I believe, laws are the reflection of what society values and much can be learned about a society by its laws.

As a part of the British government to fulfill its duty of providing protection and security, I believe it is necessary to have an animal abuse register. Over the last few years there has been a lot of focus on animal cruelty in the media resulting in several animal rights campaigns starting and mine is one of them. I believe, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is outdated and needs revising. Based on my contacts, research, and discussions I believe the following:

  1. Animal cruelty does not only harm the animal and the owner of the animal, it harms society.
  2. Animal cruelty for some, not all, is a gateway to more violent crime against people.
  3. I believe, all animals need protecting. Nonetheless, we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world with limited resources and where society places different values on very similar events. Therefore, I believe definition of animal under the Animal Welfare Act needs modifying by classifying animals. Such a change will improve limited resources for enforcement and better protect the public.
  4. Longer sentencing is needed in order to provide an effective deterrence against animal cruelty.
  5. Rehabilitation should be considered if there is a suitable program that meets the individual’s needs. However putting someone in rehabilitation for animal cruelty for the sake of putting them in rehabilitation or repeatedly putting them in rehabilitation when previous attempts have failed is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
  6. A register is a good way to report on the crime, track those, and put programs in place to help them.
  7. A register may cut vigilantism against those who commit animal cruelty
  8. Register, if done correctly, can be self-funding. However, I have serious reservations regarding a license fee model.
  9. How the register operates, checks required, and how it is administered is up to the government.
  10. The register should work within the law to strengthen our laws. A register can be a quite a powerful tool and it needs to used ethically. I believe the register should not promote a political ideology, it should not promote a life-style ideology, and it should not promote any social justice cause. An animal abuse register
  11. I oppose using the register to promote a ban on religious slaughter or using the register to limit religious slaughter.
  12. Whilst I know many vegans and vegetarians, I do not believe the animal abuse register is a good way to ban eating meat and I do not believe banning meat is a viable option.
  13. I believe sufficient checks need to be in place to protect information, ensure the solution works for the United Kingdom, and where appropriate laws are changed to ensure information stored in the register is protected.
  14. Finally I do not believe “reinventing the wheel,” when a solution that can be adapted for the United Kingdom already exists.

In the rest of this document, I will address my position and in particular address the false information that is circulating.

How updating the Animal Welfare Act 2006 Make Britain Safer?

Maxine Berry Interview

How updating the Animal Welfare Act 2006 Make Britain Safer?

Intro

Imagine a place where bullying, abuse, and violence disappears? What does it look like? How does it make you feel? Do you feel technology can protect us by knowing if someone has a violent past? Will you feel more secure if the police knew where violent people live and was using that information to make our communities safer? Sound too good to be true? Maybe, but there is a something that can help to make Britain safer and decrease violence in society.

In order to make us safe and to protect us we must be willing to take a risk. Brexit offers the opportunity UK to control and make us safer. So, how can we become safer by reducing abuse and violence? The answer is simple an animal abuse register.

Animal Register: The Basics

How can an animal abuse register reduce abuse and violence in this country? In order to understand how an animal abuse register can make Britain safer it is important to understand the very basics. First, the term animal abuse register creates a lot of questions, such as: what is an animal? Animal Welfare Act 2006 defines animal in section1 but whilst it does a marvelous attempt in defining animal it raises questions about application to invertebrates and how can it be successfully funded to allow enforcement? Maxine Berry through her Justice for Chunky petition calls for a register to protect our pets, companion animals. The state of Tennessee animal abuse register, as defined by Tennessee’s legislation establishing the register, an animal is defined as a companion that is not livestock and not wild. This means only those animals kept as companions, such as dogs or cats, will be covered.

This raises the next question; how will the register operate? A more detailed explanation can be found here. The register will only include those who have either been convicted of qualifying charge or pleads guilty to a qualifying charge. As a part of sentencing the individual will be placed on the register, by the courts, for a qualifying period based on the severity of the charge and if they have been previously charged for another qualifying offence. Once placed on the register, it will then become the responsibility of the convicted to provide up to date and accurate information. Failure to comply can result in serving further jail time. While on the register the individual will be barred from owning or caring for a pet. Also, it is proposed while on the register the individual will not be allowed to work with the vulnerable, the old, or the young.

Information Access:

Maxine Berry Interview
Maxine Berry being interviewed before submitting justice for chunky petition to DEFRA

As for who can access the information? Brighter Tomorrow, owned in part by Maxine Berry, envision the information being held on a database and when required the information is searched with an indication if the person is on the register. Only those who have a right to the information (sellers and employers) and pays a fee can access it. Nonetheless, Brighter Tomorrow is open to the idea of a public register, like Tennessee, but the government needs to make money to fund it. By limiting access and paying a fee makes the register self-funding. Plus it protects the information held on it. Otherwise it will be no better than the current Animal Welfare Act 2006.

At this stage I hope you are still with me and not sleeping. If you are get a cup of coffee or a hot milky tea. Glad you are back and want to learn more. I realise the above is not the most interesting or exciting; however, it provides important information on the framework and how the register will operate. For those of you who are familiar with the Police National Computer (PNC), maybe asking, why the register if we already have this? There are two fundamental reasons. First the PNC is not accessible to the public. Second the PNC is about holding crime information such as vehicle information and it is meant to solve crimes. Whereas the registry is about providing an additional tool that contains information about the individual, the crime, and sentence. The registry will provide an additional tool and provide accessible information to the public.

Why Change the Animal Welfare Act 2006?

After discussing the foundation of how the register will operate, I am sure the big looming question is why change the Animal Welfare Act 2006? First reason, from what I understand, there is a lack of funding for enforcement. As stated earlier the Animal Welfare Act 2006 covers all animals and can cover invertebrates too. Thereby making it difficult to set priorities, difficult to enforce, and limits funding for enforcement. This means does enforcement focuses on protecting pets, badgers, horses, or pigeons? Where are enforcement officers sent? Who is charged under the Act? It leaves a lot of questions that need to be answer and because of broad focus very difficult to enforce.

Another reason for the register, it provides vital information about those convicted of animal abuse that anyone can access. It also provides a funding mechanism when more information is needed from employers and the general public. Depending on the funding model selected it is possible the register can be self-funding.

dog roaming
dog roaming free.

Third reason for updating the Animal Welfare Act, regards how animals are treated in the Act. In America, for example, there is a growing trend to change the reference from pet owners to pet guardians. This semantic change may seem minor but it is very powerful. A failure of the Animal Welfare Act is animals are treated like property (e.g. X-Box, home computer, stove, etc.) and the shift to guardian means unable to manage own affairs. Changing from owner to guardian allows a necessary change in the law. It allows for tougher sentencing because harm to animal means harm to something that cannot care for itself and not simple property damage.

Next reason for changing Animal Welfare Act 2006 is sentencing is too lax. Maximum sentence is six months and most do not even see jail. The diminishes the serious nature of animal cruelty and make it seem like a “slap on the wrist.”

DEFRA has been asked to review our vision  and has not acted upon it. Stories like Chunky happen on a daily basis and highlights how the Animal Welfare Act 2006 fails our most vulnerable. The registry provides a way forward and offers a route to bring UK in line with other countries that value animals.

The immediate focus is getting the registry along with the appropriate funding for enforcement, changes to sentencing, and change to Animal Welfare Act 2006 to bring about effective change. This is a long and at a point where public support is crucial. I ask our supporters to attend the MPs surgery, write their MP, email their MP, Facebook message them, tweet them, and to do the same for DEFRA.

I am convinced the registry can make a positive and long-lasting change in the UK. The change will mean better lives for everyone. For us to have a better life, with less violence and abuse, comes a very little cost and with minimal disruption. All we need now is continued support from the public and support of our government.

Conclusion

Finally I believe the Animal Welfare Act 2006 has merit and should be retained. Nonetheless, I believe by reforming the Act and focusing on companion animals it can lead to more prosecutions and have a lasting impact on crime reduction.

Thank you for reading and I hope you will support the cause.

We can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/JusticeforChunkyCampaign/

Further Related Articles

Tennessee Animal Abuse Legislation

Vision for Animal Abuse Register with Cost and Benefit Analysis

Justice for Chunky Petition

How to Make a Brighter Tomorrow for Your Pet: Supporting the Animal Abuse Register

Tikkun Olam: Making a Better Britain Through the Animal Abuse Register

5 Things the Animal Abuse Register Will Provide the UK

Why Does Britain Need the Animal Abuse Register?

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What are 5 Things the Animal Abuse Register Will Immediately Provide the UK?

sunrise at albert docks

What are 5 Things the Animal Abuse Register Will Immediately Provide the UK?

Introduction

Being a pet owner opens up your world by increasing your awareness of the world around you and makes you realise you are responsible for the care of another living thing that does not have a voice. It cannot tell you it is sad, it cannot tell you it is in pain, and it cannot care for itself. It relies on you to help it and to feed it. Similarly, being a pet owner makes you aware there are millions of people out there who cannot or live in oppression thereby living in fear of voicing their concerns. In a way, I believe, being a pet owner forces you into another world that forces examination of your feelings and how you can nurture your pet. So, how can you protect your pet and ensure they live in a safe world? The answer, an animal abuse register can easily improve their lives in five different ways.

Giving a Voice to Children, the Vulnerable and the Forgotten:

A purpose of the register is protecting the public from those who can harm them and in particular, protect those who struggle to speak for themselves, for example: children, the elderly, those who are unconscious, those who cannot make decisions for themselves; or those suffering from mental illness. This means as a part of the register, a check will need to be completed before employment can be offered for certain professions or before a professional body can accept an application for professional registration (e.g. teachers, nurses, doctors, psychologists). It will protect those who cannot speak for themselves are protected from those who can do them harm and protect them from those who may prevent them from speaking out.

Identifying Families at Risk:

Animal cruelty tends to be a crime committed by younger people and serve as a gateway to more serious crimes. The animal abuse register fundamental role is helping those in need. How? Whilst the knowledge of being put on a register may dissuade some from participating or committing a violence against an animal. The power of the register lies in identifying those who have been convicted of animal cruelty. It will allow schools, social services, Councils, and other bodies to identify those who may need support, intervention, or help. It will keep them from coming into contact with children, animals, and the vulnerable. By identifying those needing help, through conviction of animal cruelty, it will allow programs to be put in place, protect others from harm, identify those who might benefit form community based programs and keep them from further harming animals.

Making it Easier to Leave Domestic Abuse:

In the United States many states acknowledge the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse, read this great document for further information. For example, Arizona the definition of domestic abuse includes animals. This allows the family pet to be included domestic abuse protection orders and it makes it easier to leave a domestic abuse situation. Furthermore, the recognition by several states in the United States regarding the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse demonstrates the United Kingdom is lagging behind other developed Western countries in this area of legislation.

In answer to the question, how can an animal abuse register stop domestic abuse? The register is the first step in improving the laws for domestic abuse. Many times in a domestic abuse situation, the abuser will either threaten the family pet or abuse the pet in order to gain control by using fear. Having an animal abuse register will make it easier for someone who is experiencing domestic abuse to feel safe if they leave because all of their needs are being addressed. Also, the register will increase the criminal sentence for animal cruelty, thereby protecting the public from the abuser.

Helping police and law enforcement reduce crime:

It will be a tool whereby police can access information regarding those who have been convicted of animal cruelty. Unlike the Police National Computer, it will contain the name, address, and other relevant information of those convicted. It will work alongside other databases to help fight crime. Also, in some cases, it will help to deter people from committing animal cruelty thereby helping protecting animal and the vulnerable from abuse.

It will bring about a positive cultural change in the attitudes about animals and bring about a cultural change about the attitude about violence:

The current law lacks proper funding for enforcement and only provides six months in jail for the most horrific acts of violence. Having a register that includes proper funding for enforcement and tougher sentences sends a message about violence against animals not being tolerated. Also it sends another subtler message, violence is any form is not tolerated. I believe the power to transform UK society lies in the register ability to empower people. It gives information to people to decide about relationships, it provides a layer of protection, and provides a strong deterrent. By having a register, a little more control will be given to us and as a country the register will bring about a positive change.

Gandhi said a country is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. The animal abuse register is a way for the United Kingdom to care for its most vulnerable by keeping them from harm. I will admit the animal abuse register is not a panacea. It will not stop every case of domestic abuse and it will not, sadly, stop every incident of animal abuse. Nonetheless it fills a missing gap and it brings the United Kingdom in line with other countries. It offers protection and hope for the most vulnerable. By creating an animal abuse register it can be the firewall that stops someone from abusing and potentially help them to change their course in life. If the register can change one person’s life for the better or protect one-person form abuse the all of the work will be worth it.

Related Articles:

2017 General Election: What the Political Parties Do Not Want You to Know about Their Support for the Animal Abuse Register

How to Make a Brighter Tomorrow for Your Dog

Why is the Tennessee Model the best Model for the Animal Abuse Register in the UK

30 Things You Can Do Right Now to Show Your Support for the Animal Abuse Register

Link Between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse

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Animal Abuse Register: Why does Britain Need It?

Maxine Berry Interview

Animal Abuse Register: Why Does Britain Need it?

Maxine Berry Interview
Maxine Berry being interviewed before submitting justice for chunky petition to DEFRA

As we are all aware, 8 June 2017 is the general election in the United Kingdom, which left the UK with a minority led Conservative government. For the Conservative government to be able govern they have entered into a Confidence and Supply agreement with the DUP. The DUP is, from our understanding, supporters of the animal abuse register in Northern Ireland.

So what is the the Animal Abuse Register? In its most simplest terms, it is an opportunity to stop animal cruelty by providing longer sentences and it is an opportunity to stop animal cruelty by tracking those who abuse animal through the register. It is a way of making animal cruelty more costly and riskier for those who chose to abuse animals. Form another perspective, it is a way of protecting society by removing those from society who abuse animals and ensuring they are not able to work with those who are the least likely to report abuse. It is a way of saying no to bullying and abuse.

Attached to this link is a brief guide about the animal abuse register. It briefly explains what the register is and briefly explains why it is needed. Other articles on this site provides a more detailed discussion and links to more in-depth information, including cost / benefit analysis about the register and political parties supporting the register. It is a great time to get our voices heard regarding the need for the animal abuse register and it is a great time to make the political parties aware of the need for one.

Additional Links:

Position Paper on Religious Slaughter

Vision for the Animal Abuse Register

Tikkun Olam: Making a Dream Come True

Animal Abuse Register in Detail

Cost and Benefit Analysis of the Two Models for Funding the Register

General Election 2017: Statement on Parties Supporting the Animal Abuse Register

30 Things you can do Today to Support the Animal Abuse Register

Why the Tennessee Model is the Best for Model for the Animal Abuse Register

10 Things you Did not Know about the Animal Abuse Register

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How you can help stop animal cruelty [video]

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winter sunrise
Winter sunrise UK

In the background restless voices can be heard, can you hear them? I can hear them. They are calling for a change in Britain and they are calling for a change to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to provide Animal Abuse Register  with longer sentences for animal cruelty.

Animal abuse does not only impact animals, it impacts people too. There is a link between animal abuse and serious crimes. This does not mean everyone who abuses an animal will be a murder. Nonetheless it does mean, for some, the risk exists. By having a register it will help to track and provide help to those who need it. Also it will help to make Britain a safer and secure country.

How can you get your voice heard about the register? All of us can make a difference. Plaid Cymru are definitely hearing the restless voices and the Green Party are beginning to hear them too . Hopefully soon other parties with hear the voices of those yearning for a register.

The quickest way in getting your voice heard is writing your MP supporting the animal abuse register or attending their surgery to discuss the need for an animal abuse register.  Likewise, take time write the editor of you local paper or sign the petition. If you are a member of a United Kingdom political party raise the issue and keep updated on the progress of the register.

Below is an older video made right before Maxine Berry delivers nearly half-million signatures to DEFRA. By working together we can bring a brighter tomorrow for millions of animals and bring a brighter tomorrow for families across Britain.

Liverpool Albert Docks Sunrise
Liverpool Albert Docks at sunrise

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Related Articles:

Can You Spare 5 Minutes? 30 Ideas You Can Do to Support the Register

The Zen of Understanding the Animal Abuse Register and the Work of Maxine Berry

What Tikkun Olam Can Teach Us About Uniting Britain

How to Make a Brighter Tomorrow for Your Dog