Saturday, May 10, 2008


I wanted to make sure I posted this to remind everyone of this matter.

"Romeo survived a horrible beating last year.
The bill named for him will make punishment stiffer for crimes against animals" .
-exerpt taken directly from the Commonwealth Journal:

Romeo's Law is passed

accredited to SUSAN WHEELDON, commonwealth journal

Somerset — “I think it is a step in the right direction for the State of Kentucky.”

Those were the words of Courtney Girdler, who is a board member of the Pulaski County Humane Society, about the passage of the amended Romeo’s Law.

Romeo, a Yellow Labrador, was caught on tape being attacked, and, following the Pulaski County criminal case which caught state-wide attention, legislators brought a bill named after Romeo to this year’s legislative session to make crimes against animals have harsher punishments.

The bill initially would have changed all crimes of animal cruelty to a Class D felony, from a class A misdemeanor. However, the bill which passed in the last few minutes of this year’s legislative session was revised so the penalty would be a class A misdemeanor if a dog or cat suffers physical injury as a result of the offense and a class D felony if a dog or cat suffers serious physical injury or death as a result of the offense. The bill also requires forfeiture of ownership of the animals and restricts future ownership of animals in cruelty and torture cases.

The bill — SB-58 — passed 92-0 in the house and 31-2 in the senate Tuesday evening.

“Although it wasn’t exactly the original (bill), I do feel that it is a start,” said Girdler. “It definitely should make people think before they abuse an animal. ... I don’t think (the bill) is so watered down that (it) won’t matter.”

Representative Jimmy Higdon said though he missed the vote, he had received a lot of calls from people in favor of the bill.

However, Higdon noted, the compromise was made after a lot of opposition from hunting groups who had concerns with the bill. Higdon said he had some concerns about the original bill after several people spoke to him about it, but he believes with the revisions the bill ended up being a pretty good one.

“I think everybody really wanted to see something done to prevent what happened with Romeo,” said Higdon. “I think it was a good compromise.”

Representative Ken Upchurch, who voted in favor of the amended version of Romeo’s Law, said the language that was used in the bill is comparable to that used if a human is assaulted.

“I think the compromise that was reached was a reasonable compromise for (the crime of) cruelty to animals,” said Upchurch.

Girdler said she was very touched to see so many people throughout the state supporting the bill of legislation.

“It was just overwhelming the number of people that came out for the rally and showed their support and the number of e-mails and phone calls that took place because of this bill and trying to get it passed,” said Girdler.

And though so many legislators had said they would pass the bill if it got called to the floor, Girdler said, their fear was that it wouldn’t be called.

“It’s good to know that there have been so many people speak on behalf of a Pulaski County pup that can’t speak for himself,” said Girdler.

“While what happened to him was horrible, he is doing great now and something really good has come out of it,” she added.

Girdler said she and the Pulaski County Humane Society would like to thank all those who supported the bill and called their legislatures in support of Romeo’s law.

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