Legislation Would Require Cross-Reporting of Child and Animal

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Children's advocates wants animal-control officers to help watch for signs of child abuse, but the state's child welfare agency is against the idea because it would also require social workers to report animal abuse.

The concept is called "cross-reporting."

People in charge of animal welfare would have to report child abuse, while those who protect children would speak up when they see animals being abused.

The Department of Children and Family Services opposes the bill because it says it would create an unnecessary burden. The department says reporting animal abuse is not its responsibility, but experts on child and animal abuse say it's worth the extra effort to uncover additional cases of abuse.

The bill has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting action by the full Senate.