Bill filed in Kentucky would make the “torture” of dogs a felony

In countless cases of animal cruelty, the perpetrator comes off devastatingly easy for his crimes. To both prevent animal cruelty and hold abusers accountable for their actions, a new bill in Kentucky is on its way to the House.

Now filed for the third time by Kentucky State Rep. Chris Freeland on March 9, 2022, House Bill 20 would make torturing a dog or cat a Class D felony. Supporters of HB 20 say it could be a huge step to save more animals from abuse.

On KY House Bill 20 and the Definition of “Torture”

The bill defines torture as “inflicting or subjecting extreme physical pain or injury to a dog or cat, motivated by the intent to cause, amplify or prolong the pain or suffering of the dog or cat.” This includes a wide variety of offenses from deliberately starving a dog to intentionally physically injuring a dog.

There are some exceptions, such as if a dog is killed for veterinary purposes or in self-defense. Interestingly, the Kentucky Gamefowl Breeders Association opposed the bill.


You can read the entire bill here. If you would like to make a comment on HB 20, please call the Speaker of the House and Housekeepers at 1-800-372-7181.

Justice and Responsibility

According to Freeland, the bill has not yet been passed in the House of Representatives because it had a low priority compared to other bills. However, he considers it an extremely important measure to hold animal abusers to account.

“You have instances where someone will somehow enjoy tying up animals and either starving or beating them or a combination of the two,” Freeland told WPSD Local.

McCracken County Humane Society, based in Padukah, KY, sees many animals that have been mistreated. Animal care worker Hayley Whitehead, who supports HB 20, also spoke out on behalf of animals suffering:

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


Since animals cannot stand up for themselves, we need such legislation to get justice for them. A statement advocating support for HB 20, posted to the McCracken County Humane Society page, notes:

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

Hopefully the bill will get that chance.

H/T: WPSD Local

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