Legislation that would reduce the number of days Kentucky counties must keep estray animals in their custody has passed that state’s House of Representatives.

Biologist David Ledford, PhD, president of the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation in Corbin, Kentucky, previously told The Horse said that since 2009, thousands of horses have been turned out on private lands in several areas of eastern. Some of those horses belong to owners who, without land owners’ permission, turn the animals out to graze on property belonging to either individuals or to coal mining companies, he said, while other horses are permanently turned out by unknown owners without property owners’ permission. As a result, the animals wander through populated areas, damage homes and crops, and pose traffic hazards, Ledford said.

Under current Kentucky law, counties are responsible for these so-called estray horses and are required to hold the animals for 90 days while their owners are located. Horses not claimed within 90 days can be made available for adoption.

To reduce counties’ financial burden, members of the Kentucky House of Representatives introduced HB 312, which would reduce the time required for counties to keep estray animals from 90 days to 10. The House Agriculture and Small Business Committee passed the bill by a 23–2 margin.

On Feb. 11, an amendment was attached to the bill that increased number of days that counties must retain estrays from 10 to 15 days.

On Feb. 23, the full Kentucky House passed the measure.

The bill now moves on to the state senate.