KENTUCKY -- A Winchester man has been charged with second-degree animal cruelty after not providing an adequate space for his outside dog to keep warm.
Damon Lucas Jr., 22, of 23 Denny St., was cited under the state’s animal cruelty statute Monday when police went to the house and found his outdoor dog had no straw to keep it warm during the latest cold spell. According to the law, the offense is a misdemeanor.
Speak Out and Rescue (SOAR), an animal rescue group in Georgetown, contacted Winchester Police about the dog being on a chain outdoors without straw.
Winchester Police Chief Kevin Palmer said officers visited the Denny Street house twice after receiving calls from the group.
No charges were filed following those visits because the dog had food and water, Palmer said, but the recent cold weather has posed an issue.
“I warned him before, it’s not just about feeding him,” Palmer said. “According to the statute, (the dog) has to get away from the cold and wet.”
Lucas’ mother, Felecia Lucas, said the dogs are cared for and the outdoor dog, a pit bull, is well fed and groomed, has water and a dog house.
“There is no animal cruelty on Denny Avenue,” she said.
People in the neighborhood do not like dogs, Felecia Lucas said, which is why she believes they contacted SOAR. SOAR expressed a concern for the dog’s thick, heavy chain, which Felecia Lucas said the dog had to have because he has broken through smaller chains.
“It’s sad when officers have other things to do in our city and they have to come here every other day,” Felecia Lucas said.
Tracy Miller, founder and president of SOAR, said she went to the house two weeks ago with the Clark County Animal Control Officer Sue Cliff and nothing was done about the dog’s condition.
“There were many issues with this particular location,” Miller said. “It was not only the chain, but the size and weight of the chain, the length, the dog was in mud and didn’t have straw. Our first time there, he had a little bit of water but no food. The dog is not up to date on his shots and has a spot on his head that could be ringworm.”
Miller shared the dog’s pictures on Facebook, which reached more than 400,000 people, she said, and she was receiving messages from places like South Africa expressing concern for the dog.
“People are outraged by this,” Miller said.
Palmer also said he was receiving messages from all over the world, which is why he re-addressed the issue. He said he didn’t want other communities thinking the city didn’t like dogs.
“That’s not the case,” Palmer said.
Palmer said he told Felecia Lucas the dog could not have a tight chain around its neck because it would be a safety hazard for the animal.
Miller provided hay for the dog and also offered to build a fence so it wouldn’t have to be chained. She also offered to have the dog neutered at no cost. Damon agreed to both.
“My son loves dogs,” Felecia Lucas said.
Felecia Lucas also said she would be sure Damon Lucas kept straw down for the dog.
“I have confidence that from now on, between mom and (Damon), the dog will have straw,” Palmer said.
No information was available on a court date.
(Central Kentucky News - Jan 27, 2015