Spay/Neuter prevents homeless animals.
Citizen are complaining, animals are suffering, our animal welfare laws are not getting enforced and we are not collecting data. Citizens want stronger animal welfare laws.
The thing is, we actually have laws, but because they are not getting enforced, which means we are not collecting data to know where the real problems are to know which ones need to be strengthened to better protect our communities.
We believe we have a solution to fix this problem.
We are asking you to look over this information and give us some feed back.
We believe we have a simple solution to fix this problem.
Problem: Kentucky Animal Control officers do not have access to adequate training to understand and enforce animal welfare law. It is unreasonable and not safe to allow anyone to enforce the law without proper law enforcement training. It is not safe for the officer, the citizen or the animals.
Some counties may be unaware, but we are finding that some are not aware they are supposed to be sending their ACO's to the mandatory law enforcement basic training courses that are required per KRS 61.300. This is asking a person to exercise a function of a peace officer (or animal control officer) without proper training and subjects their employee to fines and possible jail time per KRS 61.990
~NACA (NATIONAL ANIMAL CARE & CONTROL ASSOCIATION) offers ACO training but it is expensive and often counties do not have the funds to send an officer out of state for training.
~KRS 258.119 states that an ACO officer must complete required training set forth by the animal control advisory board. The animal control advisory board, As of 3/6/19, 15 years later has yet to complete such a training coarse.
~KACCA is attempting to fill the void with voluntary annual training and an online training course but they cannot mandate training for ACOs or law enforcement. They are not a training academy nor do they have the funding which would enable them to hire and send training officers around the state to facilitate the investigative knowledge and enforcement of existing laws that protect and prevent animal cruelty.
To sum it up......
We have animal welfare laws, we have a law that says our officers MUST be trained.... But we do not have a place for them to get that training and this is causing problems in our counties. (see ACO KRS flow chart above)
Division in the community.
Citizen taking the law in to their own hands.
County employees acting as an ACO that has not received the required training are violating the law and could receive fines and jail time.
ACO's get hurt.
ACO's without training could be violating a citizens rights.
ACO's do not know how to collect evidence (so charges don't stick)
ACO's let neglect go until its gets so bad that the county has to step in and pay to fix the problem.
ACO's miss the opportunity to help a suffering human because they are unaware of the warning signs of an abusive home.
Citizens do not trust their shelter and do not feel obligated to volunteer or donate.
Solution: The best way to save counties the most money is to create legislation that requires The Dept of Criminal Justice Training (or similar entity) to add an animal care and control program or class on to the basic training ACO's are required to receive. Making this training mandatory along with the basic training would give ACO's the education they need to preform their jobs to the best of their abilities.
Maine has successful legislation that we can use as an example to create a good law for Kentucky.
Click this link: MAINES ANIMAL CONTOL ENFORCEMENT (See E-A)
Kentucky animal control may not need this much training but it certainly gives us something to adapt to our fit needs.
Designing a training course catered to the control and care of Kentucky's domestic animals is good for ALL of Kentucky's Citizens.
Training our ACO's to enforce the law gives city and county law enforcement an advantage. There is a connection between domestic abuse and animal abuse. Our state is suffering in both of these areas. When a trained ACO answers a call about a neglected or abused animal they should be trained to look for red flags that a human may be at risk.
It will keep our ACO's safer when working with unstable animals or irate citizens and it will give them the ability to educate citizens to be more responsible pet owners. Having this advantage will save shelters and counties money in the long run. Preventing cases such as hoarding, neglect, abuse or cruelty is a good for the shelter/county because it prevents them from a costly confiscation, massive vet bills, man power, ongoing court costs, angry citizens and an over crowded shelter.
This bill idea is a good solid step towards fixing a lot of the problems many people are complaining about in Kentucky concerning our animal welfare laws. Over and over people complain that we need to improve our animal welfare laws. If we would make it a priority to train our ACO's to better understand and enforce the laws we have, we would see a major improvement in our animal welfare laws. By not enforcing the laws we have, we are not collecting the data we need to see where our problem areas are, therefore there is no way we could possibly know what areas of the law need the most attention. This bill idea bridges that gap and it will save counties money in the long run.
Education is the solution for this problem.
If you have questions, comments or if you have a suggestions on how to improve on this idea please feel free to contact us at:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!