Kentucky Takes a Step Backwards

Posted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on July 15, 2009

Late last month, SB 151, a law pushed by the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA) went into effect in Kentucky. And in so doing, Kentucky, already the worst state for animal protection laws in the nation, took another step backwards.

So what is this new law all about? Well, the law establishes a new confidential veterinarian-client-patient relationship and expressly states that veterinarians may not release information about a client or their care of an animal except when there is a client waiver or when they receive a court order or subpoena. And therein lays the rub – the unintended consequence. Until this law went into effect, veterinarians, while under no obligation to report suspected cases of animal cruelty to authorities, could report it if they so chose. This new law precludes such commendable and important acts.

Earlier this year, ALDF became aware of this oversight in the bill and drafted an amendment to fix the problem. However, despite our best efforts, this critical amendment was not added to the final version of the bill that passed. In fact, even after the bill was signed into law, some stakeholders were under the false impression that the amendment had been included. Nonetheless, under the law now in effect, veterinarians face civil liability, and may even risk their licenses, for simply reporting suspected cases of animal cruelty or neglect to law enforcement officials.

The KVMA has stated to us that they intend to push for a legislative fix to this law early next year. We have agreed to help in any way we can to ensure that veterinarians can once again report cases of suspected animal abuse without legal exposure, and that Kentucky begins to finally move forward with its laws protecting animals.


6 thoughts on “Kentucky Takes a Step Backwards

  1. Tasha Wiebe says:

    Could they get any more stupid!!!! Come one people… We should be finding more ways to protect innocent animals, not find more ways to put them in harms way. I’m appalled!

  2. Robert Frew says:

    If the ALDF wasn’t watching, who would be? We need to spread the word of the faulty law in Kentucky, do our best to correct the situation, and watch for a mistep like this anywhere else. Is it possible that a veterinarian could decline, refer patient and guardian to another Dr’s practice, while making a case of animal cruelty? Inconvenient and dangerous for the patient. Imagine if this were the case for folks living in a nursing facility or assisted care under care of a Doctor. I have to beleive that this apparent short fall in Kentucky law was designed as as a button hole, rather than a loop hole. Just my opinion…everyone has one. Might the Derby and other races in bordering states have anything to do with this law? Kentucky needs some very proactive and independant cruelty investiagators at this point. Thank You ALDF for keeping us informed.

  3. Marty G. says:

    If you want to know why Kentucky passes laws that make it a crime for a vet to report animal cruelty to the authouities, ask yourself why they also marry their own brothers and sisters……..

  4. Louche says:

    Wow. Just goes to show how thoughtless everyone is with regard to nonhuman animals. The fact that nonhuman animals are *property* is one problem, which makes the owner’s interests automatically more important than the nonhuman animal’s. AbolitionistApproach.com has more on this.

  5. transplanted-yankee says:

    I moved from MI to KY a few years ago, and I have to say that they are the sorriest S.O.B.s when it comes to any kind of animal protection. The only laws they have is that the dogs must be vaccinated once per year against rabies. Most dogs run loose, are seldom if ever given heartworm prevention, are frequently locked up in cages without any particular care. Any mention of spay/neuter gets a sour look and some jerk inevitably grabs his crotch and says, “I wouldn’t want that done to me!” Maybe if we started euthanizing homeless humans, they’d get the idea! These people are just plain STUPID.

  6. CYNTHIA LAWS says:

    OK MARTY LIGHTEN UP…IT IS STILL ILLEGAL IN KY. TO MARRY RELATIVES. SO DON’T GO TO THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR. I MOVED TO KY. FROM CALIF. 4 YEARS AGO, AND I HAVE TO SAY I LOVE MY VETS HERE. WE HAVE VERY DEDICATED VETS AND A WONDERFUL HUMANE SOCIETY. WE DO NEED MORE EDUCATION ON SPAYING AND NEUTERING, BUT I THINK THAT IS EVERYWHERE.I KNEW PEOPLE IN L.A. THAT HAD DOGS IMPLANTED WITH SPERM FROM THEIR OTHER DOGS, RATHER THAN ADOPT A STRAY. THEY WERE VERY MUCH INTO DESIGNER DOGS.

    IT SEEMS THIS WAS A BUREAUCRATIC OVERSIGHT THAT WILL BE RECTIFIED NEXT YEAR. IMAGINE THAT, GOVERNMENT MESSING SOMETHING UP…