Plans are in motion to create the first national "Do Not Adopt" registry for convicted animal abusers in the United States. The database is under construction through the Animal Legal Defense Fund out of Cotati, California, and its goal is to prevent abusers from acquiring more animals, whether from a shelter, breeder, or off the internet.
A spokesperson for ALDF made clear that the database would not be a mechanism for publicly shaming offenders, and that its only intention is preventing animals from falling into the hands of prior abusers. The registry would be available to the public so that the information was accessible not only to adoption agencies, but also to private citizens who are looking to rehome their pets.
The "Do Not Adopt" database is expected to be operational by the end of the year, and each individual state will have the ability to "opt-in" to the database.
Although it may never be possible to completely eradicate animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse, programs like this abuser database will make it more difficult for offenders to gain access to potential targets. It also gives adoption agencies some peace of mind as to who they are adopting their animals to. Unfortunately, many cases of abuse and neglect go unreported and are never prosecuted, so local communities will need to continue to work together to keep animals out of the hands of abusers. Although it's not a comprehensive way to end animal abuse, the "Do Not Adopt" registry is certainly a step in the right direction.