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☛ Animal abusers could be registered like sex offenders 2-16-18


By Rick Dennis
Feb. 16, 2018

Rick Dennis

In an article on Shared. com, dated May 30, 2017 – by Meg, the author alerts the general public the abuse of animals in the article “Animal Abusers Will Now Be registered Like Sex Offenders.”  Consider this a win for animals all over the country.”

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For every abused puppy, abandoned kitten, or medically tested bunny, this is a win. No question.  A new law is growing in popularity across the country, and it’s something everyone can agree on. A number of United States jurisdictions have implemented an animal offenders registry, which will publicly reveal the names of known animal abusers in the area, similar to how “Sex Offenders” are registered.

Currently Tennessee is the only state to have an animal offenders registry, but other cities like New York and Cook County, Illinois, have them on a local level.


The Tennessee registry is monitored by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and can be accessed at the TBI or any local county office. Each abuser will have their name, date of birth, offense, conviction date, and expiration date.

First time animal abusers will be registered for two years. An additional five years will be added for every subsequent offense after the two years. Suffolk County, located on the eastern part of Long Island, was the first in the country to develop an animal offenders registry.

“We know there is a very strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence,” said Suffolk County legislator Jon Cooper, the bill’s sponsor. “Almost every serial killer starts out by torturing animals, so in a strange sense we could end up protecting the lives of people.”  Convicted abusers will be made to pay a $50 registration fine. All abusers 18 or older must supply a recent photo as well as any aliases they go by. If you fail to register, you’ll face a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

The driving force behind this move is the FBI classification of “Animal Abuse Crimes” in the same felony categories assigned to offenses committed by people. In law enforcement, there are two basic crime classifications:  Offenses Against Property and Offenses Against Persons. In the United States, when a crime is committed, each law enforcement agency documenting the crime, as well as its classification, is fed into a Federal database, i.e., National Crime Information Center or (NCIC).  In turn, this commutative date is analyzed by FBI analysts for assignment and inclusion in the correct data base for statistical reporting.

Clinical psychologists have long known the direct correlation between animal abusers and the commission of a violent crime, by a specific individual, later in his or her life. The FBI used this correlation of information to establish its Criminal Profiler Division, that I attended. The FBI uses this information to teach Criminal Profiling technology and advances to date.


While studying for a Criminal Justice degree in college, a pre-requisite included two semesters of the Silverman Psychology. It was during this class that I learned the principles of “Conditioned Response” or “Classical Conditioning,” also known as “Pavlovian or Respondent Conditioning,” that refers to a learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus (e.g. food) is paired with a preciously neutral stimulus (e.g. a bell).

It also refers to the learning process that results from the pairing, through which the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response (e.g. salivation that is usually similar to the one elicited by the potent stimulus).  Together with “Operant Conditioning,” “Classical Conditioning” became the foundation of behaviorism, a school of psychology which was dominant in the mid 20th-century and is still an important influence on the practice of psychological therapy and the study of animal behavior.  “Classical Conditioning” is a basic learning process and its “neural substrates” are now beginning to be understood. These same psychological principles are commonly used today in training any animal (e.g. horses, dogs, etc.).  One of the most renowned psychologist to perfect these theories is “Burrhus Frederic Skinner” or “B.F. Skinner”.  Dr. Skinner was an American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher.


By applying this information, i.e., facts, psychological theories, and clinical practices law enforcement has moved into the arena of understanding criminality: from its most basic concepts to the most advanced criminal minds, (e.g. Serial Killers). It’s from these comparative studies that the correlation between “Animal Abusers” and “Criminality” was identified and used by law enforcement agencies to identify and advance apprehensions of violent criminal violators in today’s society.  Further these identifiable behavioral characteristics are also used in the fields of “Risk Assessment” and “Analysis.”  Also, these premises are used by private industry to justify “Background Checks” of new hires, as well as contractors – Agents or Assigns, to limit liability exposure.  As the old adage states, “What you have today, may be the prerequisite of your problem tomorrow.”


Richard Dennis graduation from a K-9 class with a successful 16-week training course completion. Photo features Rick, the law enforcement handler and his trained Police K-9 ready for street assignment..

Horses and dogs are established in history as companion and work animals, as well as their incorporation into a myriad of successful law enforcement agency applications. Horses are primarily used for crowd control while dogs (e.g. K-9’s) are used for crowd control, criminal apprehension and tracking, as well as rescue operations, illegal drugs and explosive detection. The same psychological concepts mentioned in this article are used to train these animals for human assistance.

While I was in law enforcement, my K-9 teams successfully competed in competition all over the globe, including against the notable German Polizi. I’ve taught Police K-9 training at the prestigious Lackland Air Force Base Military K-9 Training Facility in San Antonio, Texas. Further, I’ve had Police Drug K-9’s certified as an expert witnesses by the United States Supreme Court as well as winning the coveted “National Narcotics Detector Dog Association award for private industry”.

It’s these successes that made it easy for me to transition to a professional reined cow horse trainer as a profession. The principles used to train dogs and successful Police K-9 teams are the same ones used to train successful equestrian teams in the horse industry. Equally, it’s these professional experiences which enabled me to author my second book, CROSS TRAINING 101 – Reining, Cutting, Cow Horse.



It’s only a matter of time before legislatures across the United States adopt this “Animal Abuse Registry”, as they have by adopting animal abuse laws, as well as classifications (e.g. a misdemeanor or a felony). Lately, the incidents of arrests and convictions in the horse industry are becoming more prevalent, as are increased incidents of jail time being handed out.

Therefore, each trainer should be cognizant of his or her environmental surroundings, especially on show day when the audience is filled with a mixed bag of people including “animal rights activists” with instant video recording using cell phone cameras. Remember, you can instantly become a celebrity on social media or law enforcement with a click of a button. What you may consider a normal training activity may be construed as animal abuse by the unknowing. Train your horses at home and show them on show day.

Over the years, I’ve authored a myriad of articles on animal (horse) abuse which are featured in “Rick’s Corner” on including a seven part informational series. Each article has defined a specific area of abuse with horses from the professional trainer to the Federal Bureau of Land Management, including horse slaughter. They are available for free reading to the general public.

“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle !”

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing MemberOffice No: (985) 630-3500
Web Site:

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  1. Thank you for once again bringing the subject of animal abuse to the front and center for all to see. I pray that one day humans respect each other and humans respect animals. I’m glad animal abusers will be on a list where we can all check out our trainers before we hire them. Horse trainers especially.

  2. Terrific well written and informational article Rick. I agree with Background Checks. We do em at work and I know a lot of companies that do. I sure hope the horse industry starts doing them. We really don’t know whose who in society today. I’d feel a lot better if I knew the background on a trainer before I sent my daughters for riding lessons. Thanks for sharing your expertise.


  3. Rick I agree with you. Unfortunantly trainers aren’t the only ones that have to worry about public image at horse shows. Owners and riders also have to worry about how the general public perceives them. Abusers should be exposed. Thank you.


  4. Hey Rick thought you’d love this news article and video about a horse trainer who force fed a goat cocaine and whiskey. He was arrested for aggravated animal abuse. Maybe he’ll be on a registry.


    A Georgia horse trainer was arrested on Thursday after he was seen on video grabbing a goat’s horns while force feeding the animal cocaine and whiskey, police said.

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