The registry, which goes into effect on January 1, 2016, is open to the public. Like a sex offender registry, people can check it to see if they live near someone who could harm their animals. The names stay on the list for two years, unless a person has committed multiple offenses, in which case the name stays for five years.
Other states are considering similar bills, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Texas, Virginia, Connecticut and West Virginia have tried to pass a similar bill as well, but it did not pass out of committee. However, some counties do have similar registries, such as Albany County and Nassau in New York.
Amber Mullins, communications director for the Humane Society of Tennessee Valley, told HLN that the bill gives shelters an extra bit of information that makes their adoption processes safer.
"The main advantage is to be able to check the list before we do our adoptions. We interview the people who come in, of course, but we want to know that the animals are going to good homes. It gives us an extra route to ensure we can make that happen."
Mullins also feels that the bill can help communities on a larger scale.
"There's a documented link between animal abuse and human violence," she said. "It's great to be finally getting on board with this because a public record could serve as a deterrent."
If you want to see a similar bill passed in your state, Mullins says you can help by taking action.
"Reach out to your state representative, write letters, talk to the media," She said. "The Humane Society representative in your state can help. Start making noise."