New legislation would strengthen animal protection laws in Kentucky

Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort.
Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 9:36 PM CDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky ranks near the bottom in the country for animal protection laws, but a new piece of legislation aims to change that.

“There are really only two choices,” said Todd Blevins, Kentucky State Director of the Humane Society of the United States.

The Cost of Care Bill would make those who have animals seized from their possession during cruelty cases responsible for paying for the animals’ care.

“One choice is taxpayers, county agencies, animal care agencies, like shelters and rescues. The other option is the owner. So under the status quo, the way it is in Kentucky right now, it’s the first of those two options,” Blevins said.

Blevins said a Cost of Care Law allows agencies to petition the court to say the owner, who has allegedly abused their animals, should pay for their care.

In 2018, a cat hoarding case cost Lexington taxpayers more than $100,000.

“No matter if you believe in individual responsibility or if you’re an animal lover, there are a whole lot of reasons to agree it should be the owner paying these costs, and not taxpayers like you and me,” Blevins said.

Blevins said if the bill is passed, he hopes it sets a new precedent going forward. He says a main reason Kentucky ranks so low nationally in terms of existing animal protection laws is pretty surprising.

“If someone is convicted of animal abuse, in a lot of other states there are conditions about them owning animals again in the future,” Blevins said.

But not in Kentucky.

“That’s something the Cost of Care bill addresses, as well. To say that if someone is convicted of a crime against animals, that there would be conditions imposed by a judge on them owning animals in the future,” Blevins said.

Blevins said the bill is currently in the House waiting on a committee assignment.

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