Maury Co. woman accused of animal cruelty wasn't listed on the state's animal abuse database

Only felony convictions end up on TN's database
Posted at 5:54 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 21:59:15-05

MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — In horrific cases of animal cruelty, investigators often wonder -- could it have been prevented?

Last month, more than 70 animals were found inside Carolyn Bauer's home in Maury County. 50 of them were already dead, 23 were just barely clinging to life. "The sheer number of deceased animals in the home was deeply disturbing," said Jack Cooper, Maury County Animal Control Director.

Court records indicate that Bauer has done this before. "The defendant in this case, was actually arrested in Davidson County more than 10 years ago for a similar offense," said Cooper.

If you look at Tennessee's animal abuse registry, her name doesn't appear. In fact, most don't.

Right now, only 13 names appear on the Tennessee Animal Abuse Registry, which was introduced in 2016. That's because only the worst of the worst end up on it.

"There’s not very many people on here because it’s not extremely common in TN to be convicted of a felony animal abuse," said Cooper.

Only felony convictions end up on the state registry. And of those names listed, all of them will only stay on the registry for two years. If one of the names becomes a repeat offender before those two years are up, it will remain on the list for a maximum of five years, according to a spokesperson for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The names listed also only include abuse to domesticated animals, like dogs and cats. Livestock animal abuse charges are not listed on the database.

Part of the reason for a limited list is money. We're told expansive registries are expensive to maintain, so Tennessee lawmakers opted to make this one free to operate.

Cooper says he understands why names should remain on the registry forever. "I don’t know if you necessarily want to punish someone by putting them on this registry for the rest of their lives," he said. "But maybe for the duration of their probation or the duration of their sentence."

The Maury County Animal Control Director says he is deeply concerned about the lack of consistency for animal control across the state. "Creating standards of training across the state for animal care and control professionals to meet so that everyone is on the same page," said Cooper.