Push continues to make torturing pets a felony in Kentucky

House Bill 20 would make each act of torture towards a dog or cat a Class 'D' felony

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – There’s a bill in the state legislature that would make the torture of dogs and cats a Class ‘D’ felony. The face of House Bill 20 is Ethan Almighty, a dog that miraculously survived after being left for dead in the Kentucky Humane Society parking lot.

A rescue shelter in Lexington is praying for the state legislature to pass HB20 so animal abusers would be held responsible for their actions. Paws 4 the Cause says this winter it has seen many cases of animal starvation.

“One of the dogs we got in not too long ago, it’s like ‘why weren’t you feeding the dog?’, ‘well, I wanted to see how long it was going to take for him to die’,” says Anita Spreitzer, vice president of Paws 4 the Cause. “That was the first time I’ve ever actually heard somebody say it.”

The Garrard County Animal Shelter had to close its doors to the public Thursday to take care of 8 dogs that were seized in a cruelty case. Shelter director Brittany Fain says luckily, cases this bad aren’t common there but it’s heartbreaking to see.

“You know, if you are capable of treating an animal like that, I see it as you could possibly treat a human the same way,” says Fain.

Not all rescued dogs survive, but in some cases like Ethan Almighty from Louisville, the rescued pups get a second chance at life. Ethan’s new family says they never expected his journey to have such a wide reach but they’re using his platform to try to make a change and save the lives of other dogs.

“Of all the things that he accomplished this past year, if he helped in some way or the people that loved and support him have helped in some way by calling or raising a voice or raising awareness and this House bill was to actually pass, that might be the greatest accomplishment he’s had in the last year,” says Jeff Callaway, who adopted Ethan.

With only a few weeks left in the regular legislative session, many animal lovers say it’s about time Kentucky stepped-up its animal cruelty laws.

“These laws are really important to go through legislation and to become something concrete,” says Spreitzer. “So this way, you know, maybe we can be put out of a job one day so we don’t have to rescue so hard. That would be great.”

House Bill 20 could be voted on in the house before the end of Thursday’s session. To read the bill in full, click the link HERE.

For more information on how to help the rescued animals in Garrard County, go to the shelter’s Facebook page HERE.

To learn more about Paws 4 the Cause, you can visit its website HERE or check out the Facebook page.

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