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Bill Filed In Kentucky Would Make The “Torture” Of Dogs A Felony

| Published on March 30, 2022

In countless incidences of animal cruelty, the perpetrator gets off devastatingly easy for their crimes. Seeking both to prevent animal abuse and hold abusers accountable for their actions, a new bill in Kentucky is on its way to the House floor.

Filed for the third time now by Kentucky State Rep. Chris Freeland on March 9, 2022, House Bill 20 would make the torture of a dog or cat a class D felony. Supporters of HB 20 say it could be a huge step towards saving more animals from abuse.


About KY House Bill 20 And Its Definition Of “Torture”

The bill defines torture as “the infliction or subjection to extreme physical pain or injury to a dog or cat, motivated by an intent to cause, increase, or prolong the pain or suffering of the dog or cat.” This covers a wide range of offenses, from purposely starving a dog to physically injuring one intentionally.

There are some exemptions, like if a dog is killed for veterinary purposes or in self-defense. Interestingly, the Kentucky Gamefowl Breeders Association expressed opposition to the bill.


You can read the entire bill here. To issue a comment on HB 20, you can call the speaker of the House and House leadership at 1-800-372-7181.

Justice And Accountability

According to Freeland, the bill hasn’t passed in the House yet because it was low priority compared with other bills. He, however, thinks it’s an extremely important measure necessary to hold animal abusers accountable.

“You’ve got instances where someone will find pleasure somehow in tying up animals and either starving them to death or beating them or a combination of the two,” Freeland told WPSD Local.

McCracken County Humane Society, located in Padukah, KY, sees many animals who have experienced abuse. Animal care associate Hayley Whitehead, who supports HB 20, also spoke out on behalf of animals who suffer:

“They need that little bit of justice. They need somebody to hold the person accountable for something. These babies deserve so much more, and this bill hopefully, if it gets passed, is going to bring that to them.” 


Since animals can not advocate for themselves, we need legislation like this to get justice for them. A statement advocating support for HB 20 posted to McCracken County Humane Society’s page notes:

“They need us to be their voice, because they cannot speak for themselves. We NEED this bill to be called to the House floor for a vote.”

Hopefully, the bill gets that chance.

H/T: WPSD Local

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