Senate committee advances bill that puts more teeth in KY's dog - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Senate committee advances bill that puts more teeth in KY's dog fighting law

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Putting more bite into Kentucky's dog fighting law. That's the aim of a bill that moved forward Tuesday at the Capitol.

The bill makes doing anything to even promote dog fighting a felony. It passed a Senate committee overwhelmingly, but even supporters admit it's not perfect.

The brutal sport of dog fighting is illegal in Kentucky.

But Kentucky is the only state that does not also outlaw the promotion of dog fighting, including owning, breeding, selling and training dogs for fighting.

Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Paul Hornback's bill would change that.

“No bill's perfect.  And I will tell you that both sides are not happy with this bill,” said Hornback (R-Shelbyville) as he convened a hearing on SB 14.

Sportsmen say they support the bill because it includes exceptions for dogs used for hunting and farming.

“We have never advocated the fighting of dogs and never will. We think this is a pretty good deal,” said Doug Morgan, president of the Kentucky Houndsmen Association.

But some animal rights activists say the bill doesn't go far enough, and should include more than dogs.

“I know that we're talking primarily about dog fighting, but I am concerned other kinds of four-legged animal fighting,” said Melody Zentall of the Kentucky Coalition for Animal Protection.

A Louisville prosecutor says he's concerned that the bill is too vague.

“I don't think there's any way I could work it out in a way that a jury could actually wrap their minds around what a crime is, and then prove it,” testified Alex Gaddis, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Jefferson Co.

But despite all the concerns, the bill passed the committee without a “no” vote.

“I would also quote Mick Jagger, and remind you all that you can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you get what you need,” quipped Sen. Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown.)

Indeed, the final bill was a compromise that lawmakers have been fighting over for months, and just finished the night before.

“We are trying to criminalize the activity not only of dog fighting, but also furthering that activity, if anybody contributes to that kind of activity. And I think we're moving in the right direction. That's what we're trying to do, as well as being responsible in doing that,” Hornback told WDRB News.

Hornback believes the bill has a good chance to pass in the full senate, but won't be surprised if the House makes even more changes.

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