FRANKFORT – The state Senate passed a measure by a 36-0 vote on Thursday that would amend Kentucky’ dog-fighting ban to also make it illegal to promote the practice.
Senate Bill 14 would make the owning, possessing, breeding, training, selling or transferring of dogs intended for use in fighting a felony punishable by one year to five years in prison. In legal parlance, it makes it the “furtherance” of the act of dog fighting illegal in Kentucky.
State Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, said he introduced the legislation because Kentucky is the only state without a similar provision in their animal cruelty laws.
“I started back in June or July … trying to come with some way to make sure Kentucky was not looked at in a negative manner on this particular issue because we had been for quite some time,” said Hornback, who is also a farmer.
He said SB 14 distinguishes farmers who use animals to protect their livestock from people who fight dogs for a sport. Hornback said he has donkeys that guard his livestock against coyotes. He added that he use to have emus that did the same job.
“There are a lot of things out there that go on in the field of agriculture,” Hornback said, “and I wanted to make sure those things are protected. I put exemptions in the bill for that.”
Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, accused some national animal welfare groups of spreading misinformation about SB 14 in an attempt to promote an agenda of eliminating domestic ownership of all animals.
“They manufactured a crisis that says (SB 14) will promote dog fighting,” Webb said. “I respectfully disagree with that.”
Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, was the other primary sponsor on SB 14.
“I want to compliment (Hornback) for his, pardon the pun, dogmatic approach on this bill,” Thayer said. “He never gave up. He brought all sides together.”
SB 14 now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.