A bill that would allow veterinarians to report abuse of animals under their care has passed out of the state Senate Agriculture Committee. Veterinarians in Kentucky are currently prohibited from reporting abuse of animals under their care unless they have the owner's permission. Kentucky is the only state that prohibits vets from reporting abuse.
Senate Bill 21 (SB 21), sponsored by Sen. C.B. Embry Jr., R-Morgantown, would allow vets to use discretion in reporting animal abuse, noting that the preference is to educate an owner on proper animal care rather than reporting it to the police.
A second provision of SB 21 would grant veterinarians immunity for reporting any alleged abuse. This part of the bill is controversial for some senators as they believe vets who falsely report animal abuse shouldn't be protected by a blanket provision. Others feel the immunity clause is necessary to remove the vet's fear of being sued for reporting the suspected abuse.
Dr. Jim Weber, legislative chair of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA), encouraged committee members to think of SB 21 as a public health bill, noting that research has shown that animal abuse often occurs in conjunction with domestic and child abuse.
SB 21 will go to the Senate for the full body's consideration.
Read more at WTVQ.
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