By Sarah Hogsed
Register staff report
A Richmond man accused of beating a kitten with a golf club was indicted Wednesday on a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Gary L. Foster Jr., 33, was charged Aug. 17 after police say he struck a 3-month-old kitten with a golf club four days earlier, breaking both its front legs.
County Attorney Marc Robbins upgraded Foster’s charge in September to first-degree animal cruelty, which is a Class D felony punishable by one to five years in prison.
Because a Madison grand jury did not indict Foster on a felony charge, the case will return to district court for prosecution. Second-degree animal cruelty is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries of sentence of 90 days to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $500.
Animal lovers both locally and from all over have rallied behind the kitten, who was named Lucky. The person who found Lucky, Rocky Alan Alexander, created a Facebook page that posted updates about the cat’s status and the progress of Foster’s criminal case.
Lucky was treated at Barnes Mill Animal Hospital, and donations from well-wishers paid for the kitten’s treatment. He is now living with one of the vet technicians who helped take care of him, according to his Facebook page.
On Monday, the Animal Legal Defense Fund issued a report that named Kentucky the “best” state to be an animal abuser for the sixth year in a row based on the state’s animal cruelty laws.
Kentuckians can be charged with felony animal abuse for fighting a “four-legged animal” for pleasure or profit, according to state law. Also, a felony charge can be applied if a person already has been convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty and receives a second or subsequent charge where a cat or dog has been tortured and suffered physical injury.
A 2008 amendment to Kentucky law allows a person to be charged with a felony on a first offense if the animal suffers serious physical injury or death as a result of torture.
The national organization also based its findings on the strength of state laws covering basic standards of care for animals and if there were restrictions on convicted animal abusers obtaining new pets.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.