Advocates for animals say that certain laws are needed to make it easier to rescue animals nationwide.
ASPCA and other groups support legislation to make animal abusers responsible for caring for pets they hurt. Some states have these laws, others don’t. Some advocates say it’s long overdue that this legislation be everywhere.
Kathy Hodge’s dream has been to love her home and what she does. She still loves Calloway County, Kentucky, where she grew up. She says that her job is to be the executive director of Calloway County’s Humane Society.
“We have seven of the 31 puppies we have in foster right now,” said Hodge, motioning to a pile of fluffy small puppies fast asleep.
In decades of working with animals, Hodge said she’s seen people become so much more caring.
“It’s been going from looking at animals as a piece of property to looking at animals as being creatures we need to stand up for,” she said.
Hodge said in that there’s still work to be done. Animals seized in cases of cruelty will incur costs for shelter and vet treatment.
“It ends up being taxpayer dollars if it’s a government agency or donor dollars if it’s a humane society like us,” said Hodge.
She’s seen cases get wrapped up in court for a very long time, including one she remembers where she said 40 horses and 40 goats were taken from a property.
“We had possession of those animals for two years,” Hodge said. “The amount of money was in the tens of thousands of dollars to take care of those animals. It’s a struggle. Everybody ends up taking this financial obligation, everybody except the person convicted of the cruelty.”
Kentucky just introduced a bill to address this issue. The bill would require the owner in animal cruelty cases to pay for the animal’s care during court proceedings. This bill is known as an animal care and cost law. Some states have them and some don’t, and they vary by state.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, there’s a group of states with strong cost of animal care laws that includes Florida and Colorado. Then, there’s another group with laws they consider less strict at securing those payments. California and New York fall under this category. There are also 14 states that have no animal care laws, including Arizona and Kentucky.
“We feel like it’s a long-overdue bill,” said Hodge.
Hodge says she loves her place of residence, but there are laws she can pass to make it even better. She believes that’s what should happen as the world becomes kinder to animals.
“Money shouldn’t be the issue we’re thinking about,” said Hodge. “We should be thinking about how things are going to be done right for the animals.”