Animal Control: Kentucky Pet Abuse Laws Could Be Better

Reported by: Amanda Stevenson
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Updated: 12/18/2012 7:16 pm
Kentucky animal protection laws were ranked worst in the nation by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

And animal control officers said they're not surprised.

"Our laws are somewhat lax laws compared to other states. What we might have classified as a misdemeanor in Kentucky, some states have as a felony now," said Jessamine County Public Services Director Mike Cassidy.

A misdemeanor for animal abuse in Kentucky includes abandonment, not providing proper food, water, or health care, and torturing a dog or cat (first offense).

Kentucky only has two felony charges for animal abuse: dog-fighting, and torture of a dog or cat resulting in serious physical injury or death.

A misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $500 fine in Kentucky; a felony, up to five years in prison.

And veterinarians aren't allowed to report abuse by law.

"We're not allowed to share any information of the care of treatment of an animal with anyone other than the owner unless we specifically have their written consent," said Dr. Gary Clark, a veterinarian.

Animal control officers said they think the laws could stand to be looked at, especially to prevent something more serious from happening.

"Our biggest concern from our standpoint is what's this escalating to. Are they doing this violence toward animals and it's gonna become humans at a later time?" said Cassidy.
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