Brighter Tomorrow is extremely excited about work on one of its social campaigns, animal abuse registry. Tomorrow, 7 November 2017 Maxine Berry along with her husband, Brian, will deliver the Justice for Chunky petition to the Welsh Assembly at 1 PM. At present, there is just under 603,000 signatures on the petition. Above is a statement from Maxine about delivering the petition tomorrow.
We ask our supporters to show support by attending the event. If you cannot please purchase something from our shop (click below button), write your MP, write the editor of your local paper supporting the registry, or share information from our Facebook page
Brighter Tomorrow has done its part to bring an animal abuse register for the UK, can you please do your part to show your support.
In Britain it is estimated approximately 50% of households have a pet. However, those in the rental section, see a pet as mere property. Whereby a pet is something that can be disposed when the situation requires it. Even though the tenant may have given proper notice of having a pet to the landlord. The landlord may use the pet as the excuse for not being able to re-home family when re-homing is required in an effort to avoid their obligation to the family. Sadly, the landlord does not realise the emotional bond that is formed and ignores the benefits a pet provides. The benefits a pet provides is very much the same benefits belonging to family provides. Time has come for a change to view pets as members of the family and a family must be re-home then the focus must be Keeping Families Together.
A Pet Is Not Property But A Member Of The Family
Keeping Families Together means, a pet is not a mere piece of property but a member of the family. A pet adds meaning to our lives, keep us healthy, and most of all they do not judge us. By having a pet, adds years to life and keeps us emotionally healthy. Our world will be worse without having a pet.
Keeping Families Together Means Less Abandoned Pets
Splitting a family a part, especially when it is not the family’s fault, is unfair. It causes them unnecessary emotional grief and compounds any grief they may be experiencing. Furthermore it means the family has a tough choice, during a time of undue emotional stress, to be re-homed or keep a member of their family. No one should have to face splitting their family in order to have housing.
Time For Legislative Reform
Time has come for legislative reform to strengthen the laws regarding families with pets. Families, who have given proper notice of having pet should not face making a tough decision of splitting their family. Instead landlords, public and private, must be forced to re-home families with pets or face legal penalties for non-compliance.
Please sign our petition calling for legislative reform so no family has to split-up through no fault of their own. With your support, Brighter Tomorrow can make a brighter tomorrow for those who rent and have a pet.
I am lucky. Over the last 18 months I get the opportunity to meet some amazing people and hear their animal abuse register vision. Occasionally, someone on my Justice for Chunky Facebook site will share the views with me their animal abuse register vision. Furthermore, from speaking with people who support my campaign there seems to be agreement on the need for longer sentences. However almost no one will state what the register should contain or how the register operates. This is fine because the idea is simple but the issues behind having an animal abuse register are complex.
Nonetheless, I like to reach out to others to hear their views because the best animal abuse register will be the one in which there is engagement. The important thing is that you do not need to understand all of the issues. Instead the important point is having an opinion that you want to share. Therefore, I am looking to hear your opinion, your thoughts, and your animal abuse register vision. My question to you if you are given the opportunity to design an animal abuse register:
What will it include?
Length of of sentence
Your definition of animal. What will the register cover (pets, all animals, domesticated, something else)
Will the register be public or private?
Can employers use it for employment checks?
How long will someone be on the register? Can they ever come off of it?
Last question, how will you fund the register? (taxes, fees, fines, use your imagination)
Finally, have fun with the idea. Think about it and use the below form to share you thoughts with me.
How updating the Animal Welfare Act 2006 Make Britain Safer?
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Tikkun olam Can Teach Us about Uniting Britain Through the Animal Abuse Register
Brexit Offers Unlimited Possibilities
We are living in an exciting time, in Britain. Brexit offers the chance to take control of our destiny and achieve the impossible. The only limit is our imagination. Jesse Jackson said,
No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to fly high. No government, no legislature, has a right to limit your dreams. You should never agree to surrender your dreams.
My dream is making the animal abuse register similar to the Tennessee model law for the entire UK. Nonetheless, I am a pragmatist and realist. who understands not everyone shares my vision. Granted there are some who believe the Animal Welfare Act 2006 does not need reforming and others who believe longer sentences for those who abuse animals is ludicrous. For those who believe in the status quo and believe the route to ending animal cruelty is by making minor adjustments to the law, I believe they are living in denial. Animal Welfare Act is broken and it is in desperate need of repair. The way to fix is by adopting an animal abuse register that provides longer sentences.
I ask you to imagine a Britain with a strong animal abuse register. Whereby animal cruelty is not just a fine with minimal or no jail time. Instead I ask you to imagine a Britain that say “no” to animal cruelty and creates a society whereby animal cruelty is no longer an issue. This is the type of Britain I want to create with the animal abuse register.
Uniting Britain Through the Animal Abuse Register
So how do we create a society where animal cruelty is no longer an issue and unite? When I read the papers or watch the news, I am reminded great divisions in this country exists. Granted the vote on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union split the country along remain versus leave. Luckily “time heals all wound,” and the country is slowly forgetting the results. Great Britain is beginning the process of leaving the EU and as a country, we are beginning to establish our identity as a nation free of the EU. The future is creating a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. Nonetheless, there is also a great wealth of opportunity.
As Britain leaves the EU it provides an unique opportunity to heal, lead, and unite. Nonetheless there are still some who cannot forget that fateful day on 23 June 2016 and are unwilling move past the election to allow healing to begin. Luckily, their negative voices are the minority that are going quiet as this unites. This leads me to ask is there a way to unite this country?
Bringing Britain Together by Making Us Safer
I believe there is a way to unite this country. Please allow me a moment to digress, when I started writing this article, my initial topic was examining the question why are men not a part of the animal rights movement? So, I started looking into the question and I began pondering the question. Struggling with question and wondering why I was not able to cohesively write about it. I began realising my focus is wrong. The focus is not why men are not a part of animal rights movement. Instead it should be about how the animal abuse register will help make Britain a better place.
This meant, I had to, once again, return to the vision for the animal abuse register. As I examined the vision, stripping away, layer after layer, of what is the animal abuse register trying to accomplish. I realise, the animal abuse register is not just about protecting animals and it is not just about ensuring animals are homed with the right guardians. It is much more, it about protecting all of us and making a great society even better. It is tikkun olam or simply put, making the world a better place.
What are 5 Things the Animal Abuse Register Will Immediately Provide the UK?
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.
What is Brighter Tomorrow? Brighter Tomorrow is an extension of AAR – Animal Abuse Register / Justice for Chunky page on Facebook. Purpose of this site is allow individuals who are not typically on Facebook find us and for those on Facebook it provides information that may not always be easy to find. This site will contain the core information, not all of the news stories and updates you find on the Facebook site. Furthermore this site our supporters the opportunity to interact, ask questions, learn about the animal abuse register campaign; and to further understand our goal.
Next, there is another purpose to this site. Maxine, founder of the Justice for Chunky petition, wants to sell slime, soaps, candles, jewellery; and provide animal abuse register campaign items. Campaign related items will be similar to the Justice for Chunky t-shirts and coffee mugs that have been previously provided. However campaign related items will mean they will come from a third-party supplier. By being able to make these items for you, it will give Maxine of saying thank you for the support and hopefully it will allow you to feel a part of the campaign. Also, it will give you the change to buy something personally made by her and a chance to support the campaign.
Please bear with us, since additions to this will be over time and and it is our hope you will visit us regularly to see our offerings.
Can You Spare 5 Minutes? 30 Ideas for Supporting the Animal Abuse Register
Change does not instantly happen. Instead change is slow, sometimes with set-backs, other times there are delays and for change to occur it requires support. Over the last 18 months we have seen change slowly happen and an animal abuse register is quite possible, though not guaranteed. Currently we have over a half-million voices that have signed the petition calling for an animal abuse register in the UK. The more interest people take in helping the more likely the register can become a reality. To you, it may not seem possible that one person can make a difference but from what I have seen, I believe we all have the power to make a difference. Below is a list of 25 things you can do today to make a difference and contribute in helping us deliver the animal abuse register. Finally I encourage you to periodically check back because I may add to it or make changes.
1. Write your MP supporting the animal abuse register.
2. Write your MP advising Animal Welfare Act 2006 advising Animal Welfare Act 2006 does not provide long enough sentencing for those who abuse animals
3. Write your MP about the link between animal cruelty and if the individual is not stopped, the potential for them to commit more serious crimes.
Why the Tennessee Model is the best model for an animal abuse register?
The answer is simple. The Tennessee model for the animal abuse register offers an “out-of-box” solution thereby being able save government money by providing a proven structure. Furthermore the success of the Tennessee Model makes it the best model for the UK to use for its register.
Out of Box Solution
Inspiring other states to legislate the register
So what is meant by an out-of-box solution? To begin with, the Tennessee register as been operation since January 2016 and it is inspiring other states to legislate similar type of registers. Other states deciding to follow Tennessee is a testament to the success of the Tennessee model.
Second reason, why this author believe the Tennessee model is the right model, the legislation defines the term animal. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the term animal is very broad. Hypothetically, the term animal as defined by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, section 1(3) – section 1(4), can imply the act could be applied to ants, snails, and in a very extreme case to even bacteria. This author is not saying ants, spiders, and microbes will every be protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Instead this author is saying the Act, as it currently is written, could, with enough political pressure, be applied to cover invertebrates.
Whilst this author does not disagree all animals should be protected from animal cruelty, nonetheless this author believes the Tennessee definition is correct.
Only applying the register to companion animals raises a very important debate, what should the register cover? The problem arise when cost and enforcement are considered. How can you effectively enforce animal protection in a very rural area, especially for livestock? How do you carry out enforcement with a limited budget and a limited staff? What takes priority protecting a badger, a fox, or a dog? Where does the priority lie?
Granted all animals are important; however there is not enough budget or resources to equally enforce the register for all animals. This means something will take priority and others become a lesser priority. Assume for a moment, if the register covered companion animals, livestock, and wild animals kept in captivity. Where do you start? Do you protect the seeing eye dog that allows a blind person the ability to work and become a productive member of society and carry out enforcement of a pet-shop? Alternatively do you look for fox hunting events, check on zoos, check farms to ensure animal welfare is being protected; or check the woods to ensure trapping is not occurring?
The point this author is making, a broad definition makes it harder to enforce especially when all animals are treated the same. Furthermore this author believes animals that require guardianship, companion animals, should receive additional protection through longer sentencing. Reason for this belief, is based on this author’s support for the legislation and belief companion animals improve lives of individual thereby are worthy of additional protection. Finally this author is also trying to demonstrate complexity imposed by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the need for an update.
Third point as to why the Tennessee model is a good out of the box solution, it provides for longer sentences. Is rehabilitation a better solution than increasing sentencing? This author believes, those who might benefit from rehabilitation need to be correctly identified and correctly matched to the correct rehabilitation program. Requiring everyone convicted of animal cruelty to go through a rehabilitation program, according to Civitis report on rehabilitation by Iain Murray, see for example sections 3 – 4, a generic program will not work for everyone. This author believes, we all make choices and we assess our choice on a variety of factors such as: risk, like, urgency, priority, and how it will improve our situation. In order to dissuade some from committing animal cruelty and dissuade others from re-offending, this author believes longer sentences is necessary.
Returning to the previous discussion in the preceding section, this author mentions the definition of animal and discusses the issues with the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Tennessee model provides longer sentences for those who abuse companion animals. Companion animals are animals that are kept as our companions like dogs and cats. Whilst this author fully understands, appreciates, and does not necessarily disagrees that all animals should be treated equal. This author believes companion animals improve our lives by:
Keeping us healthy by keeping us active
Working for the police
Working at ports to smell out illegal drugs, bombs, or illegal imports (e.g. foods)
Helping us be productive members of society (e.g. seeing eye dog)
Being a part of our family
At least for this author, the starting point must be companion animals because companion animals are the group of animals in most need of guardianship and protection.
Fourth reason, the Tennessee model provides a model for the animal abuse register. Under the Tennessee model the register is public; showing the photograph of the person along with identifiable information and the person remains on the register for the period of time stated on the register.
Will the Animal Abuse Register Lead to Vigilantism?
Tennessee model has raised concerns in the United Kingdom, such a public record will lead to vigilantism. It is worth noting, it is easy to search online in the UK, find a local paper, and the local paper publishes the photograph along with the name of the individual convicted (see – this example). As previously stated in this article, from my research I cannot find any indication vigilantism has occurred against those on the Tennessee register. Since the UK animal abuse register will mirror the sex offenders register, there is no media reports this author can find no stories of physical attacks against those on the sex offenders register. Nonetheless, there is one story about individual over 7 years ago, in 2010 posting photos of pedophiles on Facebook and a few media investigations into various aspects of the sex offender register.
In regards to the individual who posted photos of pedophiles on Facebook, the question must be asked if the register was public similar to the Tennessee model would they have posted the photos? In this author’s opinion the posting of photos on Facebook, is at best using a very liberal definition of vigilantism, a very harmless form of vigilantism. Harmless in this context means, based on the article there were no terrorist threats, the physical violence, no threats of physical violence, no group took action; and based on the article, it does not appear the police were called. Based on the article, this author argues the action is more likely fits the definition of defamation that can be easily managed by Facebook suspending the account. Since the incident in 2010 did not require police to use their powers under the Public Order Act 2006, Misuse of Computers Act 1996, Offences Against the Persons Act 1861; or similar legislation, it can be argued a register will not lead to vigilantism.
UK Animal Abuse Register
Without spending a lot of time writing about my proposal for the animal abuse register in the UK, I am attaching it that can accessed from this link. This vision also includes a section on cost and benefit analysis of the different funding models.
The Tennessee model is quickly gaining a lot of fanfare by inspiring others to implement their own animal abuse register. Sadly, the United Kingdom is lagging behind other developed nations in protecting animals and implementing an animal abuse register. Whilst the Tennessee animal abuse register model may have a few undesirable aspects, nonetheless it provides a strong working solution for the United Kingdom that can be easily adapted to meet the UK needs. I strong believe the register must be adaptable and provide a deterrence against animal abuse. However for those who commit the offense then they should face the consequences of their decision and should they decide to repeat their crime then I believe a long sentence is warranted.
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