A few clicks of the mouse pull up a map with my house designated by a push pin icon surrounded by a red circle, sitting dead center like a bull’s-eye. The map tells me that there are no registered sex offenders living within a mile of me. A few more clicks expand the radius of the circle to five miles, and this time the map identifies 23 registered sex offenders living in the vicinity. The offenders are identified by name, address, often a photograph, and a link to a site where I can find out the nature of the offenders’ crimes.

Every state has a sex offender registry. A National Sex Offender Public Website is maintained by the Department of Justice and links information from all 50 states, several U.S. territories, and a large number of Indian tribes. Aside from the voyeuristic appeal of knowing your neighbors’ secrets, there are some legitimate reasons for public disclosure of sex offender information.

It’s not so easy to identify convicted animal abusers, but that may be changing.

The country’s first mandatory registration program for convicted animal abusers was established in Suffolk County, New York, in October 2010. The rationale behind the registry was to identify animal abusers to shelters and rescues, pet stores and dealers, and individuals so that abusers would not be able to buy or adopt animals.

The idea seems to be catching on around the country, with legislation establishing animal abuse registries under consideration in several states.

State Update

In Arizona, HB 2310 was introduced in January 2012 and referred to the Military Affairs and