Courtesy WLKY

City officials are taking an extra step to protect local animals. Louisville Metro Council approved creating an animal abuse offender registry for Jefferson County.

The registry would require anyone convicted of a state animal abuse crime to be listed on a registry for two years upon release of incarceration. It’s aimed at preventing people who have harmed animals from doing it again. It would also keep offenders from owning an animal.

In 2018, the Animal Legal Defense Fund ranked Kentucky last, among all 50-states, when it came to laws protecting animals.

District 8 Metro Councilman Brandon Coan, who proposed the ordinance, previously told WLKY that it’s meant to target the worst offenders. “It’s really important because Kentucky ranks dead last in terms of animal protection laws and we have a serious animal cruelty problem in the state,” Coan said.

Coan, an animal owner, said he’d seen too many high-profile cases of animal abuse in the area, including the dog that was shot with an arrow in Fairdale in June and the dog that was thrown off the Second Street Bridge several years ago.

“It breaks your heart and it’s horrific. You don’t even want to read the news or hear the story on TV because it’s hard to imagine people could be so cruel and violent towards creatures that are so loving, loyal and faithful,” Coan said.

The registry goes into effect this July. Similar ordinances are being considered around the country.

In response, the ASPCA previously issued a statement saying that while the organization appreciates the intention of the registry, it would prefer strengthening existing laws and protection orders instead.