HB 409, dealing with treatment of dogs and cats, never made it out of the House Judiciary Committee, thanks to the unfounded opposition from the Kentucky League of Sportsmen, the Kentucky Houndsmen’s Association and the American Kennel Club.
HB 408, which would have made viewing or keeping dogs for purposes of dogfighting a felony, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. However, it floundered after Rep. Joe Fischer used the bill as a political pawn by attaching an unrelated abortion amendment to it. After a multitude of outraged calls and email to his office, he finally withdrew the amendment, but the damage was already done.
HB 222, which would have outlawed gas chambers in animal shelters, made it out of the House Agriculture Committee and actually passed the House. However, the Senate Agriculture Committee, headed by Sen. Paul Hornback, approved an ag-gag amendment to the bill. The amendment, lobbied for by Farm Bureau, would make it illegal for whistleblowers to report and document abuse on factory farm operations.
Luckily South Dakota, the final state with no felony animal abuse laws, finally approved felony animal abuse legislation this year. However, this step, coupled with total inaction by Ky’s General Assembly, virtually guarantees that Ky will be named the worst state on animal laws in the country for a 7th year in a row.
Despite years of effort by a small minority of legislators, namely Joni Jenkins, Ron Crimm, and Tom Buford, to name a few, as well as dedicated animal activists, Ky remains dead last on animal issues due to the legislature as a whole caring more about small, specific special interest groups than about its constituents and their animals. Keep this in mind, and check your legislators’ voting records before you cast your vote for them in the next election.