In January, Marion County will introduce an animal abuse registry via Molly's Law, named after Molly, a boxer mix, who was involved in a high-profile abuse case. The registry will compile the names of individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor or felony animal abuse. Although the registry initially will only encompass incorporated Marion County, it is set to expand to other cities and municipalities with the use of local agreements.
Under the registry, abusers cannot own, work, or live with animals for as long as they remain on the list. Abusers will remain on the list as follows: misdemeanor convictions will result in placement on the list for a period of three years, and felony convictions will result in placement on the list for a period of five years. Those who are found in violation of the ordinance face a fine of up to $500, and will remain on the list for a period of ten years. Moreover, registered abusers are required to pay $125 for the maintenance of the database.
Additionally, those who knowingly sell, exchange, or transfer ownership of an animal to a registered abuser are subject to a $500 fine. While this provision may prove difficult to enforce, the commission has adjusted the ordinance to include a warning for the first violation, and will impose the fine for subsequent violations.
Proponents of Molly's Law hope that this registry will spur other counties to implement similar provisions, and are optimistic that eventually a similar statewide registry will be created.
For more information, see:
Nicki Gorny, Ocala StarBanner, "Marion to introduce animal abuser registry through 'Molly's Law'," October 4, 2016, http://www.ocala.com/news/20161004/marion-to-introduce-animal-abuser-registry-through-mollys-law.