Monthly Archives: April 2016

Get Your Peanuts, Popcorn, & Talking Points Right Here for Tuesday’s Triple Header!

Do you have ten minutes to write to important decision-makers in Columbus this week?

Three, critical, companion animal bills will have hearings in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday.  This is the committee in which our bills generally languish and die.

Furthermore, although there are now sixteen, companion animal bills in the current General Assembly, not one has been signed into law by Governor Kasich.

Additionally, just THREE of our stand-alone bills have been enacted in the last EIGHT YEARS.  

Below is a sample script, contact information, and links to the bills.  The script is lengthy so that anyone can understand the main points of each bill.  Feel free to shorten it.  It is always better if each person tweaks the narrative a bit so that each e-mail sounds different.

Thank you for working to see our beloved cats, precious dogs, and vulnerable people get stronger, legal protections! 

Dear Chair Hite, Vice Chair Hackett, Ranking Minority Member Gentile, and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee,

I strongly encourage you to VOTE YES on HB 187, First Responders Stabilize Injured Pets, to VOTE NO on HB 60, “Goddard’s Law”, and to have additional hearings on SB151, Dog Law Revision.

First, HB 187, First Responders Stabilize Injured Pets, is a bill that can save lives, not many bills can do that.  Emergency response teams have reported that individuals in a crisis, like a house fire or a car accident, are often panicked that their animals may be seriously hurt or lost.  The pet owners will not be calmed, and sometimes refuse treatment, until they are reassured that their dogs and cats are safe.

Additionally, this bill clarifies the type of treatment a prized, police dog may receive in an emergency. These highly trained animals have unique skills.  They protect not only their communities, but also the lives of the police officers that deploy with them. Local police departments cannot afford to accidentally lose these valuable dogs in a quickly deteriorating, dangerous situation because the first responders are not permitted by Ohio law to treat them. 

Second, I support “Goddard’s Law”, Felony for Animal Cruelty, as it was originally written, as HB 274 in the 130th General Assembly.  

I stand firmly opposed to the passage of HB 60, “Goddard’s Law”, because of the amendment, added just before the last, House vote.  The excellent legislative aim of HB 60 is severely damaged by this amendment. 

HB 60, Goddard’s Law, now appears to be going in two different directions at once.  HB 60, as originally written, aims to protect both companion animals and Ohio communities with a felony provision for animal cruelty.  Animal cruelty is well understood to be a sentinel act for interpersonal violence, including murder, rape, domestic violence, elder abuse, and child abuse.

The National Association of Prosecuting Attorneys states, “Under-enforcement of animal cruelty laws is directly correlated to a host of corrosive, societal ills.”

Yet, the recent amendment aims to diminish the successful prosecution of animal felony cases by not allowing humane societies to employ special prosecutors for felony animal cruelty.

This amendment takes away one of the current options of the humane society.  Each county humane society is in the best position to know whether the special prosecutor or the county prosecutor in its county can better handle the animal abuse cases. 

I believe that one of the unintended consequences of the passage of HB 60 with this amendment is that in order to retain experienced, animal law attorneys, who have a sharp understanding of the complexities of the successful prosecution of animal cruelty cases, the humane societies will choose to make more animal crimes a misdemeanor, instead of a felony. 

This will have a chilling effect on the future felony prosecution of animal cruelty cases in Ohio. This unintended effect alone for me is worth stopping the bill.

Third,  SB 151, Dog Law Revision, needs more committee work.  There are valuable points in this bill, including extending the amount of time violent felons cannot own dogs from 3 years to 5 years and keeping convicted, child abusers from owning a dog for five years.

However, SB 151 offers neither incentive to rehabilitate the irresponsible owner nor common sense, bite prevention.  Instead, the bill causes the dog to suffer penalties, sometimes with its life, because of its careless owner.  

Practical preventions of future bites or injuries might include requiring the dog to be on a short (4 ft)  leash or requiring the reckless owner to take attend behavior classes along with his dog.   Upon successful completion of the dog training course, the owner will present his certificate to the dog warden.

Additionally, other states provide for declassification of the dogs after, for instance, a three-year period without a biting incident.  So, the animal that was declared “dangerous”, that has completed three years without incident, may now be assigned a  “nuisance”.

HB 151 leaves dog owners in the unhappy position of having to defend any injury the dog is alleged to have caused.  Each time a report on the dog is filed, the dog warden is required to assign a label, “nuisance, dangerous, or vicious”, to the animal.  Many owners will give up.  The dogs will be surrendered. 

Even worse, euthanization is mandated for any dog that kills a companion animal.  This animal might be a hamster.

In summary, I urge you to VOTE YES on SB 187, First Responders Stabilize Injured Pets, to VOTE NO on HB 60, “Goddard’s Law”, and to continue to work in committee on SB 151, Dog Law Revision.

Sincerely,

(your name)

(your city, Ohio)

Read HB 187, First Responders Stabilize Pets in an Emergency, at the link below.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-187

Read HB 60, “Goddard’s Law”, felony for animal cruelty, at the link below.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-60

Read SB 151, Revision of Dog Law, at the link below. 

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-151

Ohio Senate Agriculture Committee

Sen Cliff Hite, (R) Chair – (614) 466-8150  hite@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Bob Hackett, (R)  Vice Chair – (614) 466-3780  hackett@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Lou Gentile, (D) Ranking Minority Member – (614) 466-6508  gentile@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Bill Beagle (R) – (614) 466-6247 beagle@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Michael Skindell (D) – (614) 466-5123 skindell@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Frank LaRose (R) – (614) 466-4823 larose@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Capri Cafaro (D) – (614) 466-7182 cafaro@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Randy Gardner  (R) – (614) 466-8060 gardner@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Joe Uecker, (R) – (614) 466-8082 uecker@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Bob Peterson, (R) – (614) 466-8156 peterson@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Dave Burke, (R) – (614) 466-8049 burke@ohiosenate.gov

Outlaw Bestiality in Ohio

Bestiality Must Be Outlawed

Bestiality makes us very uncomfortable.  It is too hard to talk about, even with our families.  It involves the unspeakable. It is one of our last taboos, boiling beneath the surface of our well-ordered communities. 

But it is an outlier of deviant behavior so extreme that it must be banned.  It is a marker of a seriously disturbed mind.  It is clear sign of a combustible danger, hidden from our immediate view. 

Animals are the perfect victims.  They are easy to restrain and control … and they can never tell.  Animal casualties are often reported first by animal control or neighbors. A dog’s whimpering or a cat’s frenzy may finally attract the attention of a nearby-resident. 

But there may be less visible victims, tyrannized, in a nearby house of suffering.  The children, the partners, the elderly, the handicapped – they may also be ensnared in an endless web of fear and pain.

Children and animals often appear together as easy victims of prey.  For example, when law enforcement agencies confiscate the computers of trolls of child pornography, there is generally a trove of bestiality photos and videos also stored on those, same devices.  

The FBI recognizes the importance of sexual animal abuse as an strong indicator of human crimes.  In January of 2016, the FBI began, for the first time, to require the 18,000, local and state, law enforcement agencies to report animal cruelty in a stand-alone category, “crimes against society”.

Bestiality is a warped, vile act.  It can be a powerful precursor of sexual homicide predators. It is also practiced by violent criminals, sex offenders, and the sexually abused.

Bestiality has health risks too.  Animals can carry and transmit human, sexual diseases, bacterial or parasitic infections, as well as cancer-causing viruses. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

SB 195, “Bestiality”, has a hearing for all testimony on November 30, 2016.  Please call the leadership of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee in support of SB 195.

Sen John Eklund, chair  (614) 644-7718  eklund@ohiosenate.gov 

Sen Jim Hughes, vice-chair  (614) 466-5981   hughes@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Cecil Thomas, ranking minority member (614) 466-5980  thomas@ohiosenate.gov

Sample script follows.  Please tweak it a bit. Your original words make a larger impact in Columbus.  Also, calls are count for more because they require an aide to fully listen.  E-mails can be quickly scanned. – However, if you only have time for e-mails, thank you for your work! 

“Good morning, Chair Eklund.  This is (your name) from (your city).  I strongly encourage you to move SB 195, “Bestiality”, to a vote and then VOTE YES.  Bestiality remains legal in about a dozen states, including Ohio.  Bestiality is a twisted, violent act, well connected to other predatory acts and highly correlated to pedophilia.  It is well documented that the seized computers of pedophillacs generally contain both child sexual victims and animal sexual victims.

“Bestiality must be outlawed and then prosecuted to its fullest.  The successful prosecution of bestiality will save a lifetime of heartache and expenses for those children and their families who also fall prey to the same sinister individuals. 

“Again, I encourage you to bring SB 195, “Bestiailty”, to a vote and then to VOTE YES to protect our communities, our children, and our animals from sexual violence.” 

Can you give 10 minutes a week to curb animal cruelty & neglect?

Newark, Ohio City Council voted to ban BDL!

When Newark passes an ordinance to protect its dogs and to safeguard its community, dogs and their families across the nation also gain.  Awareness grows.  Momentum increases.

Do you have 10 minutes each week to curb animal cruelty and neglect?   Please  join Paws and the Law’s humane community.  We work together across Ohio to advance state and local initiatives.   Your part is easy.  You can even work from the comfort of your home.  

Paws and the Law closely follows legislative initiatives for companion animals. When a critical point, like a hearing or a vote is about to happen, you will receive contact information for important decision makers and a sample script.  You, of course, can use your own narrative.   Can you give 10 – 15 minutes a week, working from home, to work against animal cruelty?

If so, PM Beth Sheehan with your e-mail address today.

A list of the current, companion animal bills in the Ohio General Assembly follows.  Most of our bills languish and die in the Ohio Senate.  The 131st General Assembly ends on December 31, 2016.  All bill not passed then, will have to be reintroduced in the next GA.

But if we all do whatever we can, where we are, together we will be an awesome force for good for our beloved cats and dogs.

BILLS in the 131st GENERAL ASSEMBLY

1.  HB 45 – Humane Officer Training          SUPPORT

Sponsor: 

Cosponsors: Representatives Jack Cera,  Michael Stinziano,  Debbie Phillips,  Sean O’Brien,  Cheryl Grossman, Michele Lepore-Hagan

Status – Local Government Committee

Summary – “to require an individual to file proof of successful completion of training with the county recorder prior to being appointed as a humane society agent and to require the revocation or suspension of an appointment under certain circumstances”

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-45  (Read HB 45 here.)

(NOTE –  The humane officer has 20 hours of special training in how to approach and to analyze an animal crime scene. Additionally, HB 45 gets rid of the residency requirement.  Right now a humane officer can only work in the county in which he lives.  By getting rid of the residency requirement, the same amount of officers can spread out to additional counties to investigate animal cruelty.

Finally, many, Ohio counties, especially rural ones, have no humane officer.)

2.  HB 60 – “Goddard’s Law”, felony for animal cruelty – ENACTED

(NOTE – Read linked blog for an explanation of possible, unintended consequences of amendment.   http://pawsandthelawblog.com/?p=373 )

Sponsors: Representatives Bill Patmon  and David Hall

Cosponsors:  Representatives Nickie J. Antonio, Tim W. Brown, John Patterson,  Marilyn Slaby, Sarah LaTourette, Cheryl Grossman, Janine R. Boyd, Jack Cera, John Barnes, David Leland, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Debbie Phillips, Michael Sheehy, Mark Romanchuk,  Louis W. Blessing, Margaret Ann Ruhl, Marlene Anielski, Mike Ashford, Nan Baker, Nicholas J. Celebrezze, Mike Dovilla, Denise Driehaus, Teresa Fedor, Bob Hackett, Stephen Hambley,   Michael Henne, Stephanie D. Howse, Greta Johnson, Terry Johnson, Michael O’Brien, Sean O’Brien, Dorothy Pelanda,  Dan Ramos, John Rogers, Kirk Schuring, Barbara Sears, Stephen Slesnick, Kent Smith, Marting Sweeney   

Summary – “to revise provisions and penalties regarding treatment of companion animals, to revise the definition of “companion animal” in the Offenses Relating to Domestic Animals Law, and to provide a state collaborative effort to assist veterinarians in identifying clients who may use their animals to secure opioids for abuse”

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-60  (Read HB 60 here.) 

(NOTE – HB 60, “Goddard’s Law”, felony for animal cruelty, is the next step for Ohio after “Nitro’s Law”. I’d like to explain felony for animal abuse in Ohio right now.  MOST animal abuse is a misdemeanor in Ohio.  There are two, specific times when animal abuse is a felony.  First, the SECOND TIME that an offender is convicted of animal cruelty, it is a felony.  The first time that offender is convicted it is a misdemeanor.    Second, if an animal “in the care of a kennel” is intentionally harmed by the manager, the owner, or the employees, it is a felony.  This is “Nitro’s Law”.

Additionally, Ohio judges are mandated to seek community sanctions (no jail) for certain nonviolent offenders because of prison overcrowding.  Animal abusers are considered by law to be nonviolent.

So, at sentencing, the animal abusers often end up with no jail time, a fine, AND they get their animal back.)

3.  HB 94 – Cruelty, Neglect, and Tethering          SUPPORT

Sponsor: Representative John Barnes, Jr.

Cosponsors: Representatives Mike Duffey,  Michele Lepore-Hagan,  Margaret Ruhl

Status – House Agriculture & Rural Development Committee, 1st hearing

Summary – “to prohibit a person from negligently allowing an animal to be tethered outdoors under specified circumstances”

(NOTE – HB 94 protects animals from being endlessly chained outside in extreme weather.  It also gives specification to the type of shelter the outside dogs need. So, for example,  it’s not “adequate shelter” to have a dog in a plastic igloo in plummeting temperatures.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-94  (Read HB 94 here.)

 4.  HB 121 – Service Dog Awareness Week – ENACTED

Sponsors:  Representatives Michael Stinziano  and Margaret Ann Ruhl

Cosponsors: Representatives Ron Amstutz, Nicholas Celebrezze, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Debbie Phillips, Jeffery Rezabek, Ronald V. Gerberry, Cheryl Grossman, Bob Hackett, Stephen Slesnick, Martin Sweeney, Sarah LaTourette, Nickie J. Antonio, Nan A. Baker, Andrew Brenner, Thomas E. Brinkman, Tim W. Brown, Jim Buchy, Hearcel F. Craig, Robert R. Cupp, Timothy  Derickson, Denise Driehaus, Teresa Fedor, Timothy E. Ginter, Christina Hagan, David Hall, Stephen Hambley, Brian Hill, Greta Johnson, Terry Johnson, Christie Bryant Kuhns, Stephanie Kunze, Al Landis, David Leland,  Michael O’Brien, Sean O’Brien, Rick Perales, Dan Ramos, John Rogers, Mark Romanchuk, Tim Schaffer, Barbara Sears, Michael Sheehy, Marilyn Slaby, Kent Smith, Robert Sprague, Emilia Strong Sykes, Ron Young

Summary – “to designate the last week of July as ‘Service Dog Awareness Week’”

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-121(Read HB 121 here.)  

(NOTE – HB 121 highlights the unique skills a service animal provides to his owner so that the owner is able to become more independent and mobile in his own life.  It also informs business owners of the rights the service animal and his owner have when they enter their places of business.)

5.  HB 187 – First Responders May Give First Aid to Pets  – ENACTED

Sponsor: Representative Timothy Ginter

Cosponsors: Representatives Sarah LaTourette, Blessing III, Schaffer, Vitale, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Margaret Ruhl, Becker, Steve Hambley

Summary – “to authorize a first responder, emergency medical technician-basic, emergency medical technician-intermediate, emergency medical technician-paramedic, or volunteer firefighter to stabilize an injured animal in an emergency”

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-187  (Read HB 187 here.)

(NOTE – HB 187 clearly defines what first responders may do on behalf of our pets in a crisis, such as a fire or a car accident.  They may provide oxygen to a stressed animal or a splint to his injured leg before the animal goes to a veterinarian.)

6.  HB 198 – Special Prosecutors         OPPOSED

(NOTE – Read linked, opponent testimony of Matt Ditchey, representative of eight, Ohio grassroots groups.  http://pawsandthelawblog.com/?p=367)

Sponsors :  Representatives Steve Hambley and Greta Johnson

Cosponsors:

Summary – “to abolish the humane society’s authority to employ an attorney to prosecute certain violations of law dealing with animal cruelty or acts involving mistreatment or nonsupport of children”

Status: Referred to House Judiciary committee

Click here to view the full text of the bill as introduced in the House – > https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-198

 7.  HB 215 – Animal Fighting          SUPPORT

Sponsors: Representatives Barbara Sears and Heather Bishoff

Cosponsors: Representatives Cheryl  Grossman,  Brian Hill,  Steven  Kraus, Sarah LaTourette,  David Leland,  Robert McColley,  Debbie Phillips,  Michael Sheehy, Michael Stinziano

Summary – “to prohibit and establish an increased penalty for knowingly engaging in activities associated with cockfighting, bearbaiting, or pitting an animal against another”

Status – Passed out of House in February of 2016 

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-215  (Read HB 215 here.)

8.  House Bill No. 278 – County Humane Societies – OPPOSE

Sponsor: Representative Steve Hambley 

Summary – “to require approval by the board of county commissioners, instead of the probate judge, of appointments of agents by county humane societies outside a municipal corporation, to specify that a county humane society is a political subdivision, to make its directors, agents, officers, and employees subject to the Ethics Law, and to increase the salaries paid to the agents.”

Status: Referred to Government Accountability and Oversight Committee 

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…

(Read HB 278 here.)

9.  House Bill No. 447 – Killing Police Animal 

Sponsors: Representatives Kirk Schuring and Stephen Slesnick 

Summary – to prohibit a person from intentionally killing a police dog or horse in the line of duty.

Status: Referred to State Government committee

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…

(Read HB 447 here.)

10.  House Bill 450 – Officer May Purchase His Police Animal 

Sponsors: Representatives Andy Thompson and Dave Hall 

Summary – to authorize a law enforcement officer to purchase a police dog or horse for one dollar when the officer retires in good standing from a law enforcement agency 

Status: Referred to State Government Committee

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…  

(Read HB 450 here.)

11.  HB 573 – Dogs Sold in Pet Stores –  OPPOSE

12.  SB 151, “The Klonda Richey Act”           INTERESTED

Sponsor:   Senator Bill Beagle

Cosponsor: Senator  Peggy Lehner

Summary – “to define  nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dogs, to revise enforcement of that Law, and to establish a notification process regarding complaints of certain violations of that law”

Status –  State and Local Government Committee

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-151 (Read SB 151 here.)

13. Senate Bill No. 195 – Bestiality – INTERESTED

Sponsors: Senators Jim Hughes and Sen. Jay Hottinger 
Cosponsors: Senators Kenny Yuko, Frank LaRose, Sandra R. Williams

Summary – “to prohibit a person from engaging in sexual conduct with an animal and related acts, to provide for the seizure and impoundment of an animal that is the subject of a violation, and to authorize a sentencing court to require an offender to undergo psychological evaluation or counseling.”

Status: Referred to Criminal Justice committee

 https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…

(Read SB 195 here.)

14.  SB 215 –  “Good Samaritan” –  ENACTED

Sponsors: Senators Jim Hughes and Frank LaRose

Cosponsors: Senators  Joe Uecker, Kevin Bacon, Bill Beagle, Dave Burke, Bill Coley, Randy Gardner, Cliff Hite, Jay Hottinger, Shannon Jones, Kris Jordan, Peggy Lehner, Gayle Mannning, Larry Obhof, Tom Patton, Tom Sawyer,  Joe Schiavoni, Charleta B. Tavares, Cecil Thomas, Kenny Yuko 

Summary – to allow individuals to rescue a pet or a child in danger in an unattended vehicle without liability

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-votes?id=GA131-SB-215  (Read SB 215 here.)

15. Senate Bill 271 – Purchase Police Animal – INTERESTED

Sponsor: Sen. Lou Gentile 

Summary – “to authorize a law enforcement officer to purchase a police dog or horse for fair market value when the officer retires in good standing from a law enforcement agency and certain conditions are met.”

Status: Referred to Agriculture Committee
 
 https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…

17. Senate Bill 286 – Killing Police Animal – INTERESTED

Sponsor: Sen. Jim Hughes 

Summary – “to modify the penalty for assaulting a police dog or horse to require, if the dog or horse is killed, a mandatory prison term and a mandatory fine to be paid to the law enforcement agency served by the dog or horse.”

Status: Passed out of House committee 

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legisl…/legislation-status…

18.  SB 331 – Dogs Sold in Pet Stores –  OPPOSE

Status: Voted out of Senate