Michigan sheriff wants animal abuse registry

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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) — Recent cases of animal abuse in Genesee County have the sheriff’s department calling for a new approach, an approach that would keep convicted abusers from ever owning a pet again.

It’s called an animal abuse registry and some think it would help curb the amount of cases in Mid-Michigan.

“I was just in disbelief,” Sheriff Robert Pickell said, regarding a video of puppy being thrown in the street. “When I saw the little puppy Tippy, he would land on his head and on his back. It was at that point that I directed an investigation be conducted.”

Kevin Stage, who owned the puppy, was arrested for allowing his 4-year-old grandson to abuse the animal. He was charged with animal cruelty, which is a misdemeanor.

“I was dismayed when I found out the penalty was only 93 days for abuse to one animal,” Pickell said.

Not only would Pickell like to see stiffer penalties against those who commit an injustice against an animal, he would also like to see a state database established for convicted animal abusers.

“Almost like a sex crime registry where a defendant has to register, but it doesn’t have to be as sophisticated. But we have to have some sort of a public record to protect the animals,” Pickell said.

Pickell sent letters to all of the state representatives, wanting anyone who intentionally abuses an animal to be charged with a felony.

“I think it’s something that’s reasonable. Something that’s needed and I think that they’ll understand and see it that way as well,” Pickell said.

Pickell also has support from the county humane society and animal control.