Crime

Romeo, the dog that became the mascot for changing Kentucky animal cruelty law, has died

Courtney Girdler shared photos of Romeo on Facebook Sunday.
Courtney Girdler shared photos of Romeo on Facebook Sunday. Facebook

Romeo, a dog whose story of abuse led to reforms in Kentucky animal cruelty law, has died.

Romeo, a yellow Labrador retriever from Pulaski County, became the namesake of Romeo’s Law after his first owner was caught on video abusing him in 2007, when he was 8 months old.

The case led the legislature in 2008 to increase the possible penalty for first-time torture of a dog or cat from a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, to a felony, punishable by one to five years, if the animal dies or is seriously injured.

Courtney Girdler, who advocated for the law, shared the news of Romeo’s death on Facebook Sunday, saying that “although his life started rough ... it didn’t stay that way.”

Girdler said her father “gave him a life beyond compare.”

She shared photos of Romeo visiting the state Capitol, lounging on the couch and relaxing by a pond while his family fished.

“While the laws in our state still need desperate help, Romeo has given us a start,” Girdler wrote.

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