Harker Heights approves Animal Abuse Registry

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The Harker Heights City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a new ordinance that would ban some people from owning animals in the city.

The Animal Abuse Registry will act similar to a sex offender registry. Once you are caught abusing an animal and are convicted, you are then banned from adopting or owning a pet.

Some Harker Heights residents say it sounds like a good idea, but they have questions.

“I think that we hold criminals accountable for their actions whenever they abuse whoever they are found guilty of abusing, so why not do the same for our fur babies?” asked a Harker Heights resident who did not want to speak on camera.

Just like parents with their children, pet owners feels strongly when you combine the words abuse and animals.

“Animals are truly, they are our best friends and they are so intuitive, a lot of animals are so intuitive, and they help us get through some crazy stuff in our lives, they don’t have a voice of their own, we need to speak up for them,” said the pet owner.

“I think it is a good idea, you know, keep certain people from having more animals when they can’t take care of them and they have a history of not taking care of them,” said Rebbeckah Reagan, Dog Trainer at Copilot Academy.

Reagan says though the ordinance sounds like a good idea, there are still a lot of questions.

“And like with everything, there needs to be a balance, maybe if it’s small fending type, abuse things like that, maybe its for a certain amount of years, instead of for the rest of their life, but of course I’m sure that they are doing lots of brainstorming with that,” said Reagan.

She says an ordinance like this would put a lot of pet owners on edge.

“I do think that there are people on the other end of the spectrum where their dogs are outside animals, they’re not inside the house things like that. And they might be concerned of how that’s going to affect them or how their neighbors can now get them in trouble, now they lose their animals that they care for, that they need and depend on,” said Reagan.

Once someone is convicted of animal abuse, they can’t own a pet for the next three years.

If you are found with an animal and you are on the registry, that is a misdemeanor Class D Charge.

City council members hope this ordinance will help in the protection of animals and give the person convicted of abuse the time to make corrections in their life before owning another pet.

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