February 12, 2009
Ky. Capitol Hosts Advocates, Lawmakers for Animal Welfare Legislation and Awards
Sens. Tom Buford, Kathy Stein to Receive Humane State Legislative Awards
Citizens from across Kentucky participating in Humane Lobby Day 2009 will assemble at the state capital to rally in support of animal protection legislation and to meet with lawmakers today to urge them to pass animal protection bills. The Humane Society of the United States and Kentucky Animal Welfare Alliance are sponsoring Humane Lobby Day.
In addition, The Humane Society of the United States will present the Humane State Legislator of 2008 Award to Sens. Tom Buford (R-22) and Kathy Stein (D-13) for their efforts to promote the protection of Kentucky's animals. Both Buford and Stein were instrumental in passing the felony animal torture bill, "Romeo's Law." Romeo, the Labrador for whom the law was named, will be in attendance when The HSUS presents Buford and Stein with the award in memory of Mr. Frank and Piggy, the first animals whose abuser was charged under "Romeo's Law."
Lobby day will start with a legislative briefing at 10 a.m. in Room 111 of the Capitol Annex followed by a press conference and rally at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda. Leland Conway, Lexington talk show host, will serve as the master of ceremonies.
Several animal welfare bills have been introduced, including HB 137, which amends the state cruelty statutes by requiring owners to provide dogs with basic protection from harsh elements. Velveteen Rabbit — a Chihuahua-mix, found tethered without shelter, a broken leg and pregnant with pups — will attend the rally to illustrate the plight of dogs who are not provided the minimal protections offered under this bill. Advocates are also calling on lawmakers to strengthen Kentucky's penalties for animal fighting, which are among the weakest in the nation.
"Each year I receive calls from all over the state regarding animal fighting, dogs left to freeze in sub-zero weather, or to fry when left without shade when temperatures exceed 100 degrees," noted Pamela Rogers, Kentucky state director for The Humane Society of the United States. "Other states punish cockfighting and attending a dogfight as a felony offense, causing Kentucky to become a magnet for illegal animal fighting."
The HSUS is a member of the Kentucky Animal Welfare Alliance, a statewide coalition of citizens and animal protection and welfare groups working to improve the lives of Kentucky's animals.
"Requiring some level of protection from extreme temperatures for dogs should have the whole-hearted support of every Kentuckian," added Victoria King, president of the Kentucky Animal Welfare Alliance. "The people of Kentucky care about animals, and passage of this bill is desperately needed to ensure humane treatment of the animals in our state."
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.