Kentucky: Give Abused Cats and Dogs a Voice in Court!

Animal cruelty cases are too often dismissed, allowing violent individuals to walk free and providing no justice for the abused animals.  In my home state of Connecticut, only 18% of defendants accused of animal cruelty between 2005 and 2010 were found guilty. Eighty percent of the more than 3000 animal cruelty cases that occurred during this time period were dismissed.

To increase the rate of convictions and provide harsher penalties for animal abusers, the Connecticut State Legislature recently passed Desmond’s Law- a bill that allows abused cats and dogs to have legal representation in court by volunteer lawyers and Connecticut law school students, at no cost to the state.

The bill’s namesake, Desmond, was a 4-year-old pit bull who had been surrendered to a Connecticut animal shelter. A volunteer favorite, “Sweet Baby Desmond” greeted everyone with kisses and a wagging tail.

Tragically and unbeknownst to the shelter workers, Alex Wullaert adopted Desmond only to take revenge on his girlfriend, Desmond’s former owner. Wullaert repeatedly and violently beat, starved, and eventually strangled this innocent and loving animal to death. He was sentenced only to accelerated rehabilitation, and his record is now clean.

Desmond’s story breaks my heart, but his death was not in vain. This sweet soul has inspired the people of Connecticut to give animals a voice in court. Judges in Connecticut will now have “the whole story,” as the full extent of the atrocities committed by animal abusers will be revealed.

There is a vast amount of evidence revealing a link between animal abuse and violence toward human beings. Desmond’s Law is expected to result in a higher rate of conviction for perpetrators of animal abuse, which will prevent dangerous criminals from harming or killing people as well as animals.

Please honor Desmond’s memory and protect innocent lives by signing and sharing my petition for Gov. Matt Bevin to introduce legislation modeled after Desmond’s Law in the state of Kentucky. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has rated Kentucky as the worst state for animal protection laws for nine years in a row. Tortured cats and dogs in Kentucky desperately need advocates to tell their stories to judges to ensure that their perpetrators are convicted. Animal cruelty must be treated as a serious crime. We need as many voices as possible to stand up for vulnerable animals and human beings who may be targets of abuse. Please sign and share this petition right away!

Dear Gov. Bevin,


It is very important to me that perpetrators of animal cruelty be convicted of their crimes and receive the maximum penalties according to law. Far too often, animal cruelty cases are dismissed, allowing violent individuals to walk free and providing no justice for the abused animals.


There is a vast amount of evidence revealing a link between animal abuse and violence toward human beings. A recent Huffington Post article cites several studies confirming the connection between animal and human abuse. For example, between 71% of 83% of women entering domestic violence shelters stated that their partners had abused or killed family pets. In families that were monitored for child-abuse, pet abuse occurred in 88% of the homes. And of seven school shootings that occurred between 1997 and 2001, all perpetrators had previously abused animals.


To increase the rate of convictions and provide harsher penalties for animal abusers, the Connecticut State Legislature recently passed Desmond’s Law- a bill that allows abused cats and dogs to have legal representation in court by volunteer lawyers and Connecticut law school students, at no cost to the state. I am calling upon you to introduce legislation similar to Desmond’s Law in the state of Kentucky.


The bill’s namesake, Desmond, was a 4-year-old pit bull who had been surrendered to a Connecticut animal shelter. A volunteer favorite, “Sweet Baby Desmond” greeted everyone with kisses and a wagging tail. Tragically and unbeknownst to the shelter workers, Alex Wullaert adopted Desmond only to take revenge on his girlfriend, Desmond’s former owner. Wullaert repeatedly and violently beat, starved, and eventually strangled this innocent and loving animal to death. He was sentenced only to accelerated rehabilitation, and his record is now clean. Cases similar to Desmond’s are occurring across the country.


Desmond’s Law will establish a program that provides a volunteer advocate from a list of attorneys and law students with knowledge of the psychology of animal cruelty to represent abused animals, free of charge. Advocates will have access to records regarding the animal and will make recommendations to the court, bringing faster resolution to cases and resulting in more just outcomes. Judges will now have “the whole story,” as the full extent of the atrocities committed by animal abusers will be revealed.


I strongly urge you to introduce legislation similar to Desmond’s Law in Kentucky. Please allow animals like Desmond representation in court, not only to provide abused animals with justice, but also to protect all of society from violent and dangerous individuals.


[Your comments here]


Thank you for your consideration.


Sincerely,


[Your name]

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