Target: Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear
Goal: Force the state of Kentucky to make reducing animal abuse a priority.
For the sixth straight year, Kentucky has been declared the worst state for animal abuse. Despite the efforts of several state legislators and the Humane Society of the United States, Kentucky’s animal abuse problem comes largely as a failure to increase the penalties for animal abusers. Call upon the governor of Kentucky to ensure that something is done immediately to keep these animals safe.
A perfect example of why Kentucky tops the list once again is a recent case in the town of Covington in which 175 chickens, roosters, rabbits, and other animals were found locked in tight cages with relatively no food or water. Randolph Brinkman, the owner of the property, was charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals, which is only punishable by a maximum one-year prison sentence.
You would think a case like this would stack up as one of Kentucky’s worst, but it is actually only the second worst in Kenton County alone. In 2003 more than 200 animals were removed from a Kenton County residence under similar circumstances. To make matters worse, because there are no laws against having sex with an animal in Kentucky, when the Humane Society receives reports about bestiality, they have to check if the act caused any physical injury to the animal so that an animal cruelty charge can be applied. State law even prohibits veterinarians from reporting suspected abuse.
Among several other legislative shortcomings, Kentucky has no felony penalties for neglect, sexual assault, abandonment, no mandatory requirement for police to enforce animal cruelty laws, no mandatory forfeiture of animals when convicted, and no standards for basic animal treatment and care. In fact, the most severe penalty for animal cruelty is a Class D felony, which is handed down when a four-legged animal is forced to fight for pleasure or profit. This means that even the most severe case of animal cruelty, including cock fighting, will only be a misdemeanor if it involves animals with only two legs. However, Larry Cleveland, who is responsible for prosecuting felonies in Franklin County, claims he has never encountered a felony for any case of animal abuse.
Perhaps the biggest reason penalties for animal abuse haven’t become more severe is opposition from hunting groups like the Kentucky Houndsmen Association who believe organizations seeking new legislation are ultimately trying to ban hunting.
Please sign the petition below and demand that Kentucky to improve its animal abuse record and enforce more severe penalties for cruelty and neglect. This has to stop now before more lives are ruined.
Dear Governor Beshear,
I am sad to say that Kentucky has been ranked the worst state in the country for animal abuse for the sixth year in a row. It would be one thing if this was the first time, but it is unforgivable to let this kind of suffering and ignorance go on for so long. Kentucky’s animal abuse laws offer absolutely no protection and have resulted in some of the most horrendous violations of animal rights on record.
I urge you to reform your animal cruelty laws immediately by increasing the penalties for abuse and neglect, making bestiality illegal, and requiring anyone who is convicted of abuse to forfeit their animals. The kind of large-scale cruelty that happens in Kentucky cannot go on. Animals deserve to be treated with compassion and respect, not as though their lives have so little significance that when 200 of them are tortured or killed the responsible party is given the same punishment a shoplifter would receive.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jordan Sim via Flickr