You’ve heard of a sex offender registry, right? But have you heard of an animal neglect registry? No Texas city has ever adopted one, at least not until now. Earlier this month, the Laredo City Council voted unanimously to become the state’s first city to adopt an animal neglect registry.
“In Laredo, we have an issue with animal neglect,” says Laredo City Councilman Alberto Torres. “Our animals should be cared for, and we should be responsible pet owners.”
Per city ordinance, if added to the registry, a person would not be able to purchase or adopt an animal at a shelter or a pet store within the city jurisdiction.
Some details are still being ironed out. Once a person is named to the list, are they included for life? Or can they prove they’ve changed and receive a second chance at pet ownership?
“My push is to have people registered for the rest of their lives,” Torres says. “There is really nothing that will reassure us that that person will not neglect an animal again.”
The City of Laredo has other lists too. They keep tabs on individuals who consume high volumes of water, who are delinquent on property taxes and who write hot checks.
“If we have databases for these other offenses, why wouldn’t we have a database that would protect our animals?” Torres says.
He says the impetus behind the registry is to make sure animals don’t fall into the hands of people who have a history of animal abuse or neglect.
“We want Laredo to be the pioneer city with this type of ordinance,” Torres says. “We hope that other cities move in this direction so that we can protect animals across the state of Texas.”
Written by Taylor Jackson Buchanan.