On January first of last year, Tennessee became the first U.S. state to begin curating a public list of convicted animal abusers. Their database includes names, photos, birth dates, and home addresses of offenders, something the Humane Society sees as potentially problematic.
They claim that such a public list could lead to blatant shaming and harassment which would further isolate those in need of serious mental health services.
A Humane Society of the United States blog post further explained their position:
“Experience has made clear that such individuals would pose a lesser threat to animals in the future if they received comprehensive mental health counseling. Shaming them with a public Internet profile is unlikely to affect their future behavior—except perhaps to isolate them further from society and promote increased distrust of authority figures trying to help them.”
Others see the database of abusers as a much-needed resource for rescue and adoption services, who currently rely on little more than personal disclosure and follow-up phone calls to determine whether an adoption applicant is suitable.