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Bill proposes register for animal cruelty convictions

VERMILION COUNTY -- A new bill at the capitol could make it harder for animal abusers to adopt pets.
VERMILION COUNTY -- A new bill at the capitol could make it harder for animal abusers to adopt pets. Animal experts say it sounds like a good idea, but it may not be enough. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out how the law would work.

People convicted of animal cruelty-related crimes would have to register with the state. But, even that may not stop them from doing it again.

"Our animals are part of our family, so I just can't understand," said Vermilion County Animal Shelter director Paige Brown. "It's like hitting your kid. How do you do that?"

Animal abuse happens. But, a state legislator wants to put an end to it. After being convicted of animal abuse crimes, people would get added to a statewide animal abuse registry.

"I think it's a great idea if they can figure it all out," said Brown. 

Brown says people who live around here are passionate about their pets.

"They're very good about letting us know when something is awry," said Brown. "We've had several calls about it this morning."

"It" is a picture posted on Facebook. It shows a dog that looks like it's been in a fight. Since the page says the owner lives in Danville, it's out of the shelter's jurisdiction, but Brown says it's a scary sight. Animal lovers around town aren't proud of the picture, but they're sharing the post to make sure other people watch out.

"You don't know if that's real, if that's a real person or if that's just what it is," said Brown. 

Even if it's not real, the emotion behind the image is and it's something pet owners say they're serious about stopping. The pictures were on a host site, so whoever posted them probably did not take them.

But, a board member from Danville's Humane Society says they've seen pit-bulls get stolen around town and they've heard about dog fighting, so it's still something they're keeping an eye on.

Brown says the shelter has seen cases of animal cruelty. She adds, while not as common as abandonment or neglect, if the bill becomes law, people on the registry wouldn't be allowed to own pets or work at places with animals like pet shops or zoos.
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