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Animal Abuse Registry

October 19, 2013

I just read a news item about a proposal for an animal abuse registry.  It’s much like the existing child abuse registry.  People convicted of animal cruelty would be entered into the database.  Only the Winnipeg Humane Society and similar agencies would be able to access the database, in order to screen potential pet owners.  The proposal did not specify the source of funding for this database.  It all sounds good to me.  I do wonder if the technology is necessary.  Perhaps convictions for animal cruelty are already recorded someplace else.  Perhaps the agencies already have access to this information.

The model for this new registry, the child abuse registry, is described at this web site.  People found guilty of child abuse in court are entered into this database.  Likewise, if a child in care has been abused, the people providing that care are entered.  As well, Child and Family Services can recommend that a person can be entered into the database.  The web site also mentions that information in the database can be reviewed on application.  I presume that the body reviewing this information can recommend that a person’s database entry be deleted or changed.

Several groups have access to records on the child abuse registry with the consent of the person who may be listed.  These include Child and Family Services, an adoption agency, or a potential employer when the job includes contact with children.  Child and Family Services and the police also can access the database without consent, during an investigation of a person who may be listed.  Funding for this database comes from the Manitoba government.

The sex offender registry is another database.  How many of these are there?  Do we have a proliferation of registrys?  Do they duplicate each other?  I even wonder if some of them are extra-legal, a form of extended punishment, an excuse to drive offenders away, or an invasion of privacy?  Much would depend on who has access to the database.  If they have a legitimate purpose and they are properly managed and have suitable restrictions, I’d say that they are beneficial to our society.

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