By STU JOHNSON
Under current Kentucky law, veterinarians are prohibited from reporting cases of suspected animal abuse. A Western Kentucky lawmaker is seeking to give veterinarians the latitude to register such a concern.
Morgantown Senator C.B Embry’s bill allows veterinarians to report the abuse of animals under their care. Jim Weber is with the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association who supports the measure. “We’re the front line on seeing these animals and we have the expertise and the skill to examine animals and if we really feel that there’s a possibility of abuse that we should be reporting it,” said Weber.
During committee discussion last week, Madison County Senator Jared Carpenter asked how often veterinarians see abused animals. “For an actual true abuse case, how would you even know that? Somebody who’s really abusing an animal, a dog, a cat, a domestic animal, they’re probably not going to bring them to you all’s office, I would assume,” explained Carpenter.
Weber said there are cases where suspected abuse is seen in a treated animal, but by law, veterinarians cannot report it. The legislation spells out that veterinarians would be granted immunity in reporting incidents of abuse.
The original bill was amended so it would not require reporting by veterinarians, but to allow such a report of animal abuse. Embry said the change weakens the legislation, but he added it’s moving in the right direction. Veterinarians would also be granted immunity in filing a report.
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