LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky is ranked as the worst state in the country for Animal Protection laws, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Local advocates are hoping a bill that is now waiting for President Donald Trump's signature could help change that.
The PACT Act unanimously passed the Senate and will now head to the president's desk. The bipartisan bill would give federal authority to go after those who abuse animals, only if it is an interstate commerce or if it happened on federal grounds.
Louisville Metro Animal Services looked into more than 23,000 animal abuse cases in 2018. The latest one involves two women who are facing charges in Jefferson County. According to arrest slips, the women are accused of leaving two dogs in a house without water or electricity. Officials found the animals dead Sunday, November 3.
"When you have the right laws, the local authorities can go after and charge the criminal appropriately," John Ridgill said who is the board chairman of nonprofit organization, The Arrow Fund.
Every year, the Arrow Fund treats more than 150 animals in Kentucky who are abused. They have eight memorials so far of dogs who died in 2019.
"A lot of these animals are not just suffering from starvation, but they're dragged behind cars, they're shot with bows and arrows, and we have big animal abuse in dog fighting in this state," Ridgill said.
Under the PACT Act, those convicted would face felony charges, fines, and up to seven years in prison.
"In most cases right now it's a misdemeanor -- they pay a fine and then they go out and adopt another animal or steal another animal," Ridgill said. "If you abuse animals, you're more likely to abuse humans, so it's important to find these people who abuse a helpless animal and bring them to justice as much as the law would allow."