Humane Events

Join Our Mailing List

Powered by Robly

Kentucky Honors Rescue Dog’s Story of Survival with “Ethan’s Law” - National Humane Education Society

May 11th, 2024

Paws Up! To Kentucky Legislators for Passing Law to Expand the Legal Definition and Punishment for Animal Torture

The state of Kentucky is known and loved for many things: their soulful bluegrass music, their popular baseball team, and even their world class bourbon. But for many, animal welfare may not be the first association that comes to mind. The Animal Legal Defense Fund ranked Kentucky as the fifth worst state in the nation for animal protection laws in 2023. However, things seem to be looking up for our furry friends who reside in this southern state in 2024.  House Bill 258, also known as “Ethan’s Law”, has expanded the legal definition and punishment for animal torture since it was signed into law this March.

For the animal welfare advocates among Kentucky’s legislators, this journey towards improved protections has taken numerous years and multiple attempts: this included House Bill 57 introduced in 2021. HB 258 shares many of the same sponsors as HB 57, as well as the same goals. This bill ensures that any harm done to an animal to inflict serious injury or infirmity will be tried as a Class D felony, and expands the legal definition of animal torture to include many instances of harmful restraint and neglect. What has moved the political leaders of Kentucky to finally take this leap forward for animal rights? For many, the story of a rescue dog turned celebrity named Ethan has been the inspiration.

Ethan’s story made headlines in 2021 when the Kentucky Humane Society nursed the young dog back from the brink of death. Tragically, Ethan had suffered severe neglect from his previous owner and only weighed 38 pounds instead of the 90 pounds expected for a dog of his size. Despite suffering in a way that no companion animal trusted in the care of humans ever should, Ethan still had an open heart and soon found his forever home with a loving volunteer at the shelter.

Following his adoption, Ethan and his human companion testified to both the House of Representatives and the Senate of Kentucky about Ethan’s journey. They created the organization Ethan Almighty to continue to spread awareness for animal welfare. This story of triumph shows the impact education and advocacy can have for the lives of animals, and perfectly encapsulates why we at The National Humane Education Society (NHES) will always continue to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.

What does HB 258 mean for the future of animal welfare in Kentucky? This law will strengthen the justice for abused animals in a state where it is notoriously difficult to prosecute animal cruelty cases in, and open the door for more animal welfare legislation to be passed in the future. NHES’ Humane Education Team had the opportunity to visit schools across Kentucky this spring and they were touched by the students’ hearts with their compassion for animals. It is these young people who will grow up to be the next generation of animal welfare advocates. Through the eyes of this next generation we can have a hopeful vision of Kentucky, where companion animals all throughout the state will receive the legal protection and humane care they so greatly deserve.

Take Action: Contact the Kentucky General Assembly to show your support for Ethan’s Law!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *