LANSING, Mich. (WZZM) -- There's an online registry to find sex offenders online and soon it may be easier to look up animal abusers as well.
On Tuesday, a senate committee discussed new legislation, that would give animal shelters free access to a criminal background database, which many employers already pay to use. The bill also prohibits anyone convicted of animal abuse, from adopting animals for at least five years.
At the Harbor Humane Society in West Olive, a dog named Jethro was recently dropped off by an animal control officer in bad shape.
"He was found tied to an air conditioning unit, very underweight," says Adam Burnett of Harbor Humane Society. The shelter gets 20 to 30 abused animals every year. "It just hurts my heart terribly, because we're in the business of getting animals to a proper home," says Burnett.
Right now the Harbor Humane Society only has limited information about a persons criminal history, including animal abuse.
"We don't have a big database or registry to look and see, we just have our personal database," says Burnett.
The Harbor Humane Society keeps a data base of about 650 people who are convicted animal abusers or are believed to be involved in that activity and none of them are allowed to adopt. However, new legislation would allow animal shelters to also have free statewide access to criminal background checks.
"We'll be able to look and say 'OK, this person does not have a history,' or if they do have a history it's going to help us know that 'Hey you know we can't adopt out to you,'" says Burnett.
The hope is that dogs like Jethro may have a better chance of finding a loving home, the second time around.
State Senator Rick Jones originally wanted to create a new animal abuse registry, similar to the sex offender registry, but he determined it was too costly. He believes the new legislation will pass the senate committee in September.