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Kentucky ranked eighth on the top ten least pet-friendly states in a list by Safewise, a review and comparison website focusing on home-safety products and services. Using sources such as BringFido, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the nOkill Network, Safewise determined Commonwealth was too limiting in its number of anti-animal abuse laws, no-kill shelters and pet-friendly establishments.

In 2018, the Animal Legal Defense fund listed Kentucky as the worst state for animal protection laws. According to the organization, the Bluegrass lacks laws that prohibit the sexual assault of animals, felony charges for the abuse of animals and animal fighting laws that cover more than a limited selection of species.

Additionally, the fund says veterinarians are prohibited from reporting suspected abuse and no statutory provisions for post-conviction restitution or forfeiture, except in cases involving horses.

As of the writing of this article, 41 no-kill shelters were listed on the nOkill Network. The nearest to London was the Humane Society League for Life in Richmond. Meanwhile, 11 kill or unverified shelters are listed under the state on the website. Safewise ranked states with more no-kill shelters as more pet-friendly.

As far as veterinarians are concerned, Kentucky is doing reasonably well according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2018, the bureau reported the commonwealth to have veterinarian employment of approximately 1,060 with a median annual wage of $86,160. Comparatively, our neighbors in West Virginia have a reported employment of around 340 veterinarians. Their median wage is higher, however, at $92,510

In addition, Safewise gave tips on how to keep your pets safe over the summer. These include:

— Keeping out food and water. Whether on a hike or staying at home, be sure to have food and water on supply. Wash out food and water bowls to prevent contamination. If you have a sprinkler system, consider turning it on for your outside animals to play in.

Keeping first aid. When going on hikes, be sure to have bandages and ointment on hand for if you or your pet gets injured.

Avoiding outdoor parasites. Ticks hide in tall grass and can transfer Lyme disease. Be sure to keep your animal from going into the tall grass and use anti-flea and tick medication.

Being sensitive to the limits of a pet. Long hikes and firework shows can be strenuous and stressful, especially to older animals.

Avoiding toxic plants and garden products. Garden products such as fertilizers can be toxic to animals. Research can determine what gardening products are safe around animals. If a pet does consume a toxic product, SafeWise recommends contacting the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Protecting a pet's paws. Hot pavement or sidewalk can damage an animal's paws. SafeWise recommends taking animals on walks early in the morning and late in the evening when things are cool.

Keeping animals cool. Animals with thick fur especially can suffer in the heat. Ensure outdoor animals have shade and access to fresh food and water. Animals with thick furs, such as huskies, should have a kiddy pool to keep cool in and a cooling vest.

Keeping an eye on your pets. SafeWise recommends installing pet cameras, which can be monitored through mobile devices whenever you're away.

The report from SafeWise and its sources can be found at https://www.safewise.com/blog/safest-states-pets/.

dcombs@sentinel-echo.com

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