Romeo’s Law

Gillian Lyons

In response to public outcry of a videotaped beating of a Labrador Retriever, Romeo- on April 16, 2008 Kentucky passed S.B. 58 (dubbed Romeo’s law) which amended § 525.135 to state that the “torture of a dog or cat is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for each subsequent offense if the dog or cat suffers physical injury as a result of the torture, and a Class D felony if the dog or cat suffers serious physical injury or death as a result of the torture.”

According to the ALDF website- attorneys have prosecuted the first successful case under this law- resulting in a felony conviction of a man who stabbed two cats to death.  The article regarding the case can be found here.

Most states have laws on their books labeling animal cruelty a felony (here is a list of which states label animal cruelty a felony, but note that the laws only protect certain animals and exclude large classes of activities, such as hunting.) Until this law passed, Kentucky, a state that has a reputation for being notoriously lax in regard to animal abuse, was one of the holdout states that penalized animal cruelty with only misdemeanor charges.  In that respect, this law is a step in the right direction.

One has to consider, however, why the law provides no protection to animals besides cats and dogs- and why the law provides only misdemeanor charges for the first offense if no serious physical injury has occurred. Apparently the Kentucky legislature thought those were questions for another day, and we can only hope they are addressed in the future.

3 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pace Law Library, Animal Blawg. Animal Blawg said: #animalrights Romeo’s Law […]

  2. I am with the Humane Society in a small town in Kentucky and we are seeing more and more cruelty to horses and cows. How do we go about getting Romeo’s law to cover other animals as well. We had a very bad case a couple of weeks ago but there is controversy over whether Romeo’s Law will cover the three horses that were starved to death and the owners tried to burn them. We go to court this coming Monday for this case. Any help that anyone can give us will be greatly appreciated.

  3. I am with the Harlan Co. Kentucky Humane Society and we have been trying to get our Representatives to put Romero’s law for all animals. The way it is written it sounds like it is until you get to the last and then it says for dogs. We have been very upset over this because we have a lot of abuse for horses and we are The Blue Grass State and we stand for Race Horses. We went to court over some horses and the Co. Attorney just knew we had these people dead to right but in the end we ended up finding out that it was not going to work out as we thought. These people had two horses that died and they had tried to burn them but nothing would burn except their hair. Then a State Trooper was with us and he wanted to see in their barn and the lady refused but he threated her with so he started reading her her rights and she got scared and opened the door and we found a little pony standing in feces up to its knees and you could see all of the ribs. These people got by with murdering these animals. Sooo very sad.

    Brought it to my house to be doctored and when the vet got there it had to be put to sleep because of gain green in its legs. So very ad and

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