Central Okanagan  

Registry for animal abusers

A Vernon woman is building a registry to help protect animals from animal abusers.

Camille Block, 23, is the creator of the Animal Abuse Defence Registry - a registered non-profit society dedicated to keeping people with animal abuse convictions away from animals. 

"We want to help people make more educated decisions about whom they adopt (or take care of) animals to," she said. 

If someone wants to check a potential adoptive parent out, they can submit the person's name to the registry and find out of the person has a history of animal abuse.

Block's background is in web development and she created her own search engine for the society. 

Right now, Block takes the query and searches the name in publicly available records to determine if the person being searched is legally permitted to have an animal. The society has already dealt with nearly 200 cases in BC alone. 

"We use resources like Court Services online and the Canadian Legal Information Institute, but some of the information is out of date so we have to confirm every individual case," she said.

The downside to this is it can be a slow process. Not all records are online, which means at times Block is calling courthouses across Canada to dig into a person's criminal history.

She hopes to rectify that through a partnership with the Ministry of Justice. 

"Querying the court database requires a lot more security than I'm used to providing," she said. "I would hire someone with more specific expertise than just myself." 

Block is also in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the project. The money will go towards revamping site security to fit MOJ standards.

"The MOJ is going to have their own list of requirements and they’ll be doing background checks. Now our remaining expenses are for a re-build of our system to match the MOJ’s requirements."

Beyond keeping pets away from animal abusers on a case-by-case basis, Block envisions the database as a sort of first-warning system as well.

"Say you search someone and it turns out they have a conviction and they’re not supposed to be adopting from you, then we want someone to be notified. This could at least be a tool to provide the info to the authorities that those people are trying to adopt."

Block says the response from the public has been positive and that she is looking into new partnerships with animal health insurance firms. 

"People love supporting animal well-being and safety, and we have been grateful for the public’s contributions so far."




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