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Animal welfare rules in Louisville could be expanded under Metro Council proposal

Ordinance would allow animal service workers to do more in situations where shelter conditions are considered dangerous
Published: May. 25, 2021 at 6:35 PM EDT
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The proposal would expand animal welfare rules in Louisville.
The proposal would expand animal welfare rules in Louisville.(WAVE 3 News)
Some advocates are pushing for the change.
Some advocates are pushing for the change.(WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - If people are feeling the heat outside, it’s likely their pets are, too. When that becomes a dangerous or neglectful situation, there is not a whole lot animal control workers in Louisville can currently do.

A proposed ordinance working its way through the Metro Council Public Safety Committee may soon change that.

Pam Shofner-Daniels, who has been pushing for tougher animal protection laws in Kentucky for more than half a decade, said change is needed.

“I can’t tell you how many animals that I’ve gotten out of cars,” Shofner-Daniels said. “Luckily, I’ve never had to bust out a window, but I have to say, if they were in that much danger, I would. I would just have to take the consequences.”

The ordinance, which sponsor Councilmember Marcus Winkler expects to pass without much opposition, would allow animal service workers to do more in situations where shelter conditions are considered dangerous, including hot cars. Councilmember Amy Holton Stewart is also a sponsor of the bill.

Winkler said it would expand existing animal welfare rules that already lay out food and water requirements to now include specifics about sheltering, especially in extreme heat or cold.

Currently, those are issues animal control workers can do little about, though Winkley said in some instances, animal control workers can temporarily take neglected pets from dangerous situations.

“They get there and their hands are tied,” Shofner-Daniels said. “The reason they’re tied is because the laws are not there to protect these animals.”

The proposed ordinance wouldn’t impact livestock or increase enforcement, but instead, give those already on patrol more options when they encounter a dangerous situation.

“It’s sort of one more quiver that they’ve got where they can say, you know, hey, we need to do something about the care of this animal,” Winkler said.

He added situations would be looked at on a breed-by-breed basis, noting what may be safe for a Husky may be dangerous for a Chihuahua.

The Metro Council Public Safety Committee will meet next week.

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