Animal Lovers Rally In Support Of Romeo

For the most part, Romeo is happy and healthy, minus a few problems from abuse at the hands of a previous owner.

“His back legs are not as strong as they should be,” said Courtney Girdler, with the Pulaski County Humane Society, who brought Romeo to the state capital on Wednesday.

Romeo was there flanked by animal lovers, who think a misdemeanor crime for dog and cat torture falls short.

In fact, some say Kentucky has some of the worst animal protection laws on the books.

Ronald Shawn Turner was convicted on animal cruelty charges for abusing Romeo. He'll serve a few more months in jail.

If Romeo's Law passes, people who commit certain kinds of abuse will be slapped with a felony and one to five years in prison, possibly on a first time offense.

The bill will eventually be heard in the House Judiciary Committee. Already, there has been some rumblings that some are concerned about the burden the bill could place on the prison population.

“I mean, I can't see why anyone would object to it,” says Pamela Rogers with the State Arm of the U.S. Humane Society. “The amount of felons we would create by those who torture dogs or cats; it's not a significant impact on the counties as far as jailing or anything like that.”

Animal welfare folks are lobbying for seven other bills this session. One would require offenders to pay for care animals need after their abuse.

“I just thought that it was time that these people should be held financially responsible for their actions,” said Melvin Henley, D-Murray, co-sponsor of House Bill 77.

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