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

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

 

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Overview:

We have just completed the third phase of Justice for Chunky campaign by having the Green Party make the animal abuse register policy Nonetheless Brighter Tomorrow remains committed in having a register that will operate, like sex offender register, it will record individuals convicted of abusing animals and prevent them from owning animals. By having a register, it will keep those convicted from working with animals, owning animals, and prevent them working with vulnerable people.

Why is an animal abuse register necessary?

Mahatma Ghandi said, A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members. As a society we need to protect society’s most vulnerable from abuse. Those who abuse animals are more likely to abuse people. By having an animal abuse register it will identify and prevent those who are likely to do harm from being in contact with the most vulnerable. This will lead to a lower incidences of animal abuse in this country and help lower violent crimes against people.

Before placing an individual on the register will an attempt be made to rehabilitate them?

At Brighter Tomorrow, we believe every legally competent adult is responsible for the choice they make and regardless of their background, they should be held accountable for their actions. It is our belief, as society we should have a zero-tolerance towards any form of animal abuse and do not believe a “second chance” approach is justified. Nonetheless, we believe where appropriate and where the individual’s needs meet the objective of a rehabilitation program, they should receive support to improve their life. This means any rehabilitation is done while the individual is on the register instead of in lieu of the register.

Will this campaign push for tougher sentencing of those who abuse animals?

We believe the laws around animal abuse are too lax, especially the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and encourage our supporters to write their MPs to push for tougher sentences for those who abuse animals. As discussions occur about how the register will operate and how to identify individuals who will be placed on the register, it is possible some laws may need to be changed. However, at this stage, asking for tougher sentences is not a part of our vision for the register.

 

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

How long will it take before the animal abuse registry becomes law?

We are following a process and it is difficult, at this stage, to predict. The more support we get and the more MPs are contacted the swifter this will become law.

Will Chunky still be a part of the campaign?

As we get updates about Chunky we will post them on Facebook and we will never forget Chunky. However, this campaign is bigger than one animal and it is about protecting all animals. So, yes Chunky will be a part of this campaign but he will not be the only focus.

Can I still sign the Justice for Chunky Petition?

Yes, you can sign it by clicking on the link.

Do you have a Facebook Page?

Yes we do, click on the link.

How is your Facebook Page, Justice for Chunky and Brighter Tomorrow are related?

Justice for Chunky page relates to the campaign. We also have a Brighter Tomorrow page on Facebook Brighter Tomorrow is about our fund raising for the campaign and items we sell from time-to-time. They are the same but two separate components

How do I donate?

We are a business, company number 10721118, created to raise money for the animal abuse register and if you click the Donate button at the bottom of the page you can contribute via PayPal.

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Can I have your contact details?

If you represent a media company, please email us by clicking this link. who will help you get in contact with us.

Can you please help me set-up or run my campaign?

We love having support and those who want to help our cause. Likewise, we love to help those to set-up and run their own campaign. Since we have limited time to help we do charge a small fee for our time. Please click this link and let us know more about your needs.

I have a similar campaign, cause, event or charity that wants you support. Will you help us?

Please email us by clicking this link. When contacting us please include, at a minimum, the following information:

  • Your cause
  • Contact Information including website and email address
  • Information about the cause, campaign, event, or charity
  • When it will occur / How long we will be needed
  • How we can help
  • Amount of time required

Once we have the information, we will review it and contact you with any further questions.

How can I support you?

Currently, the best way to help is to write you MP or write to the editor of your local paper advocating an animal abuse register. Other ways include using your twitter account to tweet your support for our campaign and by following us on Facebook. Finally click the donate button at the bottom of this page.

Related Articles:

How Can Updating the Animal Welfare Act 2006 Make Britain Safer?
Tikkun Olam: Making Britain Safer Through the Animal Abuse Register
5 Things the Animal Abuse Register Will Immediately Do for the UK
Why Does Britain Need the Animal Abuse Register
How to Make a Brighter Tomorrow for Your Dog: Supporting the Animal Abuse Register
30 Things You Can Do Right Now to Show Your Support for the Animal Abuse Register
Tennessee Animal Abuse Register Model, Why It is the Right Model for Britain?

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

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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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Can We Really Trust License Fee to Fully Fund the Animal Abuse Register [photo]

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Can We Really Trust License Fee to Fully Fund the Animal Abuse Register

dog at train stationRarely a day goes by without print media writing about another case of animal cruelty. The stories are heart-breaking leaving you feeling upset, helpless, enraged; and wanting to do something. Worst yet, under current sentencing guidelines a pet is considered mere property and there is no concept of guardianship. This means under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the longest sentence can be given is six months in jail. A very short-time for someone who has hurt a member of the family that cannot speak for themself and relies on us for protection.

What can be done to help stop the horrific cruelty to family pets? There must be a solution? Yes, there is proven solution and it very simple. The proven solution is implementing Animal Abuse Register, similar to the state of Tennessee, in the UK is an option. The Tennessee model is proven because it has been around since January 2016 and as this author understands it, there has been no issues.

So why not implement the Tennessee model? There are two reasons: reluctance and funding. Anything new always is met with preposterous objections. In regards to implementing the animal abuse register based on the Tennessee model this author believes objections to the Tennessee model is based more on anti-Americanism, personal agenda, and dumb belief by some the major drawback to the Tennessee model  (the public naming of individuals) that may lead to vigilantism. At the time of writing this article, this author is not aware of any widespread cases of vigilantism against those named in Tennessee and without further evidence this author does not accept public naming of individuals will lead to vigilantism. Nonetheless, this author does not believe the strength of the Tennessee model solely lies in the public naming of those convicted of abusing animals but believes the strength of  Tennessee model lies legislation. The legislation strength lies in the sentencing and defining of the term animal.

What are the three types of funding models for an animal abuse register?

Implementing a register may sound like a quick solution. However, the issue lies in funding it. Currently, as this author understands it, enforcing the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is costly and there is not enough funding available. This author believes the reason why the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is failing pet owners is because it is all encompassing thereby making enforcement difficult and costly. For a register to work, it must be able to fund itself. Currently there are three possible options: Green Party policy regarding license fee, a point of sale check that can include a check being done by an employer or doing nothing.

License Fee

Is a very good policy that will quickly generate revenue for the government and depending on the level of voluntary compliance, the amount of revenue generated can be massive. The massive generation can sustain the policy for a while. However, the policy as I understand it, does not include renewal and it does not include a mechanism to ensure someone who is issued a license is regularly checked to ensure they are not on the register. Another issue lies that it is all encompassing, covering all animals thereby running into similar issues regarding enforcement. In order to ensure someone who has a license is not on the register it will mean the license will have to be read, like a chip and pin, to ensure the individual has not been added to the register. Furthermore the license fee policy is silent on how enforcement will be conducted. This issue of license checks and enforcement leaves many questions. In particular the concern the license fee for this author raises is the violation of civil liberties, such as stop and search, to ensure everyone who has a pet has a license or enforcement vans driving through neighbourhoods.

Point of Sale and Employer Checks

Point of Sale and Employer Checks is relative an exciting approach since it is a self-sustaining providing several millions for the government because enforcement will be done at the Council level instead of the national level. This means Councils can charge an additional fee to defray the cost of enforcement for pet shops. Plus this promising model is focuses on the Tennessee model, whereby the Animal Welfare Act is updated to provide longer sentences for those who foolishly attack the family pet.

Do Nothing

Cost of doing nothing may appear free but it is not. The cost of doing nothing extracts a high price on families. and society There is a link between those who abuse animals and those who have the potential to hurt others. This author is not saying everyone who abuses an animal will abuse a person. Instead this author is saying there is a link that cannot be ignored that is cost the government millions of pounds each year in prosecutions, police time, jail space; and the harm done to families.

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Analysis

My analysis shows over time, the cost of the Green Party Policy without increasing the license fee, without limiting exemptions, or without further defining what enforcement will include will risk the policy not being self-sufficient. It will mean increasing the license fee, increasing enforcement activities and / or for example, deny productive members of society access to seeing eye dogs because they cannot afford the license fee because their exemption was rehttp://Cost and benefit analysis of the animal abuse register for the United Kingdom as completed by Brian Berry, Co-Founder of the AAR – Animal Abuse Register / Justice for Chunky and Co-Owner Brighter Tomorrow.moved.

Whereas the point of sale with employer check is a self-sustaining approach with the potential to provide a windfall and doing nothing hurts society.

It is therefore, based on the analysis provided, point of sale with employer checks be the way forward to fund an animal abuse register.

Finally

To read the analysis: click on this link

If you have any questions or want to know me then please contact us by using the below form.

 

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How to Make a Brighter Tomorrow for Your Dog

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Half a Million People Join ‘Justice for Chunky’ anti-Animal Abuse Campaign (Telegraph 31 March 2016)

Vision for the Animal Abuse Register

Cost and Benefit Analysis of Three Approaches to Funding the Animal Abuse Register

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Why is the Tennessee model the best model for the UK Animal Abuse Register

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we all have a dream and ours is bringing an animal abuse register

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.

Whilst the House of Commons, Committee on Environmental, Food, and Rural Affairs, Animal Welfare in England: domestic pets on page 33 believes in the merits of the register but fears it may lead to vigilantism. This author believes the Public Order Act 1986 and other legislation is can address any issue of vigilantism. Plus if Parliament does feel the need, it can increase civil and criminal penalties for anyone who acts as a vigilante based on information contained in the register.

Correct statutory definition of animal

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.

UK sunrise

Longer Sentencing

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:

  • Alleviating stress
  • Keeping us healthy by keeping us active
  • Protecting us
    • Working for the police
    • Guarding us
    • 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.

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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.

Conclusion

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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