Make of this what you will. On February 23, the Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee held a public hearing to (among other things) roll out its substitute for Senate Bill 14. As you probably know, SB 14 in its previous form would outlaw owning, transporting, breeding, training or selling dogs for the purpose of fighting. The substitute language, however, would not only obfuscate the owning/transporting/breeding/training/selling ban, it would also enlarge the burden of proof for prosecutors in actual dogfighting cases. Despite the last-minute, closed-door nature of the hunting lobby’s Ag Committee negotiation that excluded prosecutors as well as animal advocates, opponents of the committee sub managed to get feedback from various prosecutors who immediately noted fatal flaws in CS SB 14. One even called it “an abomination.”
If your understanding of the Ag Committee hearing was influenced by this AP write-up, you could be forgiven for thinking the committee sub was a good thing. But to get the rest of the story, you’d have to talk with someone who attended the hearing — someone who isn’t pushing the hunting lobby’s agenda.
One such person would be Alex Gaddis, the Jefferson County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney who spoke at the Ag Committee hearing for as long as Sen. Hornback allowed. Gaddis detailed two fatal flaws in CS SB 14 and emphatically stated the new language would make it harder — not easier — to convict dogfighters in Kentucky. His warnings were ignored by the Senators who voted to adopt the committee sub.
They were also ignored by at least one Associated Press reporter.