Chattanooga man one of first to appear on Tennessee's Animal Abu - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga man one of first to appear on Tennessee's Animal Abuse Registry

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Tennessee's Animal Abuse Registry has been blank since it was launched on January 1, but a Chattanooga man is now set to be one of the first to appear on the list.

The TBI's public database is the first of its kind in the country.

MORE: Tennessee Animal Abuse Registry

Michael Henley pleaded guilty to felony animal cruelty this week after beating his dog to death with a shoe in 2014. His name and photo will be now be the first to appear on the state's registry.

"This was heinous. This was awful," Jamie McAloon, McKamey Animal Center's Executive Director, said of the case.

McKamey is on the front lines of investigating cases of animal abuse. Each week, the center receives hundreds of requests to complete animal welfare checks.

"We have zero tolerance of animal abuse in the City of Chattanooga," McAloon said. "We're going to pursue those cases. We're going to present them for prosecution. Our prosecuting attorney feels the same way and does prosecute these cases."

Felony cases, like Henley's, are rare. Many animal abusers are charged with or plead down to a misdemeanor.

That makes them exempt from appearing on the new state registry.

"We see some pretty awful animal abuse cases that end up with just a misdemeanor," said McAloon. "That's more common than you would think."

A judge sentenced Henley to two years of unsupervised probation and 12 months of wearing an alcohol monitoring device. He must also sign up for the animal abuse registry within 14 days.

McKamey officials say they will keep pushing for even tougher sentences.

"In the future, we want to make sure that these people that are convicted of animal abuse don't get to keep animals or have animals during the period of their probation," McAloon said.

After a person is convicted of felony animal abuse, the law states the court clerk then has 60 days to send that information to the TBI.

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