FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - A Kentucky lawmaker has filed legislation to make animal torture a felony under Kentucky law, inspired by a Louisville dog’s survival story.
House Bill 57, introduced by Rep. Chris Freeland (R), would amend the current animal torture law (KRS 525.135) and upgrade the punishment for crimes involving cats and dogs to a Class D felony. It would also “add specific acts to definition of torture.”
The Kentucky Humane Society (KHS), which is based in Louisville, made note of Freeland’s bill on Facebook, where the shelter has also been updating the public on a dog named Ethan. His story has garnered attention nationwide after he was left for dead at the Humane Society on Jan. 29.
“We want to thank State Rep. Chris Freeland for sponsoring House Bill 57, which seeks to expand the definition of animal torture to include intentional gross neglect/abandonment,” a post on the KHS Facebook page reads. “KENTUCKY RESIDENTS: If you live in Kentucky, we encourage you to contact your house representative and thank them for caring about companion animals like Ethan. Ask them to support, co-sponsor and vote for HB 57.”
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Extremely malnourished and covered in his own waste, KHS originally reported Ethan’s chance of survival looked grim after he was taken to the shelter’s Veterinary Services Department.
“Ethan is the thinnest dog I have ever seen that is still alive. He weighs 38 pounds, when he should be around 80 pounds,” KHS shelter veterinarian Dr. Emily Bewley said on Jan. 30. “To get in this shape, he had to have been starved for weeks.”
Over the past week, Ethan has gained more than 20 pounds and is slowly gaining enough strength to walk again on his own.
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Ethan remains on IV fluids and is receiving multiple meals a day to get him back to a healthy weight, KHS revealed over the weekend.
HB57 has 39 sponsors including Rep. Freeland.