Bills would make seized animal owners pay for their care

By Allie Hennard

Legislation is being considered by Kentucky lawmakers to protect abused animals. 

“We take in over 10,000 animals a year here in Warren County and Bowling Green,” said Sen. Mike Wilson. 

One bill in each chamber would give rescue agencies more power to cover shelter costs.

“I signed on as co-sponsor and it’s something that we are trying to get passed,” Sen. Wilson said. 

In situations where animals are seized due to animal cruelty, shelters must cover the cost of care until the court has made a decision in the case. 

Sen. Wilson, representing Logan, Simpson, Todd, and Warren counties says this bill is long overdue. 

The pending legislation would allow judges in these cases to order the owner to pay the costs instead of local shelters using their funds.

“I can’t imagine being cruel to animals and so, for me, and if you tour the shelter and see they put up these animals for lengths of time and have to absorb all cost of care,” Sen. Wilson said. “I think it’s just right that those folks that are in question about their treatment would have to pay for it.”

Kentucky currently ranks 45th in the nation for worst animal protection laws, according to data from the animal legal defense fund.

Sen. Wilson says this may be due to the lack of training in Kentucky for animal control officers. 

“That’s probably one of the reasons is folks aren’t really well trained in how to handle those cases. That’s something, I think, we’ve been looking at for some time to make sure there’s some kind of uniform training for those that are animal control officers,” Sen. Wilson said. 

Kentucky is in the bottom tier of states, joined by Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and 10 others.

The Senate Bill 125 must pass committee. Then, if it passes, it would be eligible to be voted on the floor. Next, it would go through to the House under the same process.

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