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Activists rally, call for boosting animal welfare laws in Kentucky

Posted at 5:36 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 06:07:37-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — For years now, animal advocates in Kentucky have been fighting for better laws to protect animals from cruelty, neglect, and abuse. On Tuesday, that work continued as they rallied in support of pro animal legislation.

"We're sick and tired of the fact that the laws don't change here," said Anita Spreitzer, the rescue coordinator for Paws 4 The Cause.

The rally was organized by Kentuckians Vote for Animals, a group trying to improve the lives of animals in the Commonwealth.

"We all love animals - everyone that's here - and just want to try to make a positive difference in their lives," said Melissa Bowman, the group's president.

The group has already made a difference. In 2019, they worked hard to pass the animal sexual assault bill. That allowed Kentucky, for the first time in 13 years, to not be ranked as the worst state for animal protection laws. Prior to last year, Kentucky was ranked 50th by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. However, thanks to the new animal sexual assault law, Kentucky was ranked 47th. It may seem like a small change, but advocates say it's progress.

"It's one step at a time," said Spreitzer. "So I celebrate today that we're 47th and we're not 50th anymore."

However, advocates know there is a lot of work still to be done. This year, they're specifically focused on passing a law that would allow veterinarians to report abuse.

"The one that's been moving is Senate Bill 21 and that would just allow vets to report abuse of animals seen in their clinics," said Bowman. "Kentucky, right now, is the only state where vets cannot report abuse."

To do that, advocates know they need to pitch their ideas directly to lawmakers. So before the rally, they took part in Kentucky Animal Action Day.