CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada state senator said he plans to pursue legislation creating a registry of people convicted of intentional animal cruelty to prevent them from owning pets.
Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, said he’s asked for a bill draft that would allow people who sell or help place pets for adoption to check the registry first before transferring an animal. Checking the registry would not be mandatory.
The bill is similar to legislation sought two years ago by Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Henderson, the Las Vegas Review-Journal (http://bit.ly/1fURdXo ) reported Monday. The difference is that under Manendo’s bill, nonprofit animal groups would maintain the registry instead of government agencies.
The Nevada Legislature convenes in February 2015.
Manendo said he has been considering the proposal for some time but moved to announce it after a recent animal cruelty case in Las Vegas.
Jeremy Espiritu, 22, is accused of slashing and killing the family pet because he said he liked to hurt dogs. A district judge has ordered a psychological assessment and Espiritu will remain jailed without bail until at least next year.
“This animal abuse registry will prevent repeat animal abuse offenders,” Manendo told the newspaper. “It is common knowledge that animal abuse is usually a precursor to human abuse. Laws are in place to protect children and the elderly. We need to make every effort to have laws that better protect helpless animals and prevent violent behavior toward them.”
An animal lower, Manendo has two dogs, a beagle named Carson and a poodle he rescued called Coco.
Beverlee McGrath, legislative advocate for Nevada Political Action for Animals and a lobbyist at the Nevada Legislature for several animal rights groups, is working on the bill with Manendo.
McGrath said similar proposals have failed in other states because of the requirement that it be managed by law enforcement.
Using the nonprofits and avoiding a fiscal cost to taxpayers could be the approach that will make the Nevada proposal successful, she said.
But legislation is still needed to ensure that information about cases of intentional animal abuse is released by the Nevada court system to maintain the registry, she said.