Tag Archives: accountability

Congress ok’s the killing of wolves and bears in Alaska wildlife refuges

How did YOUR U.S. rep and YOUR TWO, U.S. senators vote?

The U.S. House and the U.S. Senate voted to OVERTURN a rule banning “some of the most appalling practices … denning of wolf pups, killing hibernating bears, spotting grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and trapping grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares” … This will be on “16 national wildlife refuges covering 76 million acres, all in the state of Alaska.”

“Republican lawmakers did this for the NRA, the Safari Club, and some hunting guides and outfitters.” (Read the details in Humane Society, linked)

http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/02/u-s-house-sanctions-killing-hibernating-bears-wolf-pups-dens-federal-refuges-alaska.html?credit=blog_em_021617_id8790&utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=humanenation

I strongly encourage you to call your three, federal legislators to voice your support or opposition to their votes.

“Good morning, Senator Brown.  This is (your name), an Ohio voter, calling from (your city and zip code).  Thank you for your NO VOTE on SJ Res 18, which overturns important, wildlife protections for wolf pups and hibernating bears.  It allows for aerial spotting of bears and steel-jawed, leg traps.  I do not support these cruel methods of killing wildlife. I appreciate that you do not either.”

TWEET 

Just click on @SenSherrodBrown below.  You will be taken to his Twitter account. Non-Ohio voters can use their own U.S. senators here.

@SenSherrodBrown   Thanks 4 your NO VOTE on SJ Res 18 – No more killing vulnerable, wolf pups & hibernating bears in Alaska #STOPreversingprotections

@senrobportman  I’m disheartened that you VOTED YES on SJ Res 18 – I oppose killing wolves & bears on Alaskan wildlife refuges 

You can find YOUR two U.S. senators and their contact information at the link below.  Contact information for Ohio Senators Brown and Portman follow. 

https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/  (Find all 100 U.S. senators here)

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/   (Find all 435 U.S. representatives here)  

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (D)

Cleveland  (216) 522-7272     Toll Free 1-888-896-OHIO (6446)

Cincinnati  (513) 684-1021     Columbus  (614) 469-2083

Lorain  (440) 242-4100     Washington, DC  (202) 224-2315

Ohio Senator Rob Portman (R)

Washington, D.C.   (202) 224-3353     Columbus (614) 469-6774

Toll-Free 1-800-205-6446 (OHIO)     Cincinnati  (513) 684-3265

Cleveland  (216)  522-7095     Toledo  (419)  259-3895

https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/  (Find all 100 U.S. senators here.)

U.S. senators voted largely on party lines 52-48, 2 not voting

YEAS – 52  (to OVERTURN the current rule)
Alexander (R-TN)   Barrasso (R-WY)   Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)   Burr (R-NC)   Capito (R-WV)
Cassidy (R-LA)   Cochran (R-MS)   Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)   Cornyn (R-TX)   Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)   Cruz (R-TX)   Daines (R-MT)
Enzi (R-WY)   Ernst (R-IA)   Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)   Gardner (R-CO)   Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)   Hatch (R-UT)   Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)   Inhofe (R-OK)   Johnson (R-WI)
Kennedy (R-LA)   Lankford (R-OK)   Lee (R-UT)
McCain (R-AZ)   McConnell (R-KY)   Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)   Perdue (R-GA)   Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)   Roberts (R-KS)   Rounds (R-SD)
Rubio (R-FL)   Sasse (R-NE)   Scott (R-SC)
Shelby (R-AL)   Strange (R-AL)   Sullivan (R-AK)
Thune (R-SD)   Tillis (R-NC)   Toomey (R-PA)
Wicker (R-MS)   Young (R-IN)
NAYs – 48  (to KEEP the current protections)
Baldwin (D-WI)   Bennet (D-CO)   Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)   Brown (D-OH)   Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)   Carper (D-DE)   Casey (D-PA)
Coons (D-DE)   Cortez Masto (D-NV)   Donnelly (D-IN)
Duckworth (D-IL)   Durbin (D-IL)   Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)   Gillibrand (D-NY)   Harris (D-CA)
Hassan (D-NH)   Heinrich (D-NM)   Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)   Kaine (D-VA)   King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)   Leahy (D-VT)   Manchin (D-WV)
Markey (D-MA)   McCaskill (D-MO)   Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)   Murphy (D-CT)   Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)   Peters (D-MI)   Reed (D-RI)
Sanders (I-VT)   Schatz (D-HI)   Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)   Stabenow (D-MI)   Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-NM)   Van Hollen (D-MD)   Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)   Whitehouse (D-RI)   Wyden (D-OR)
Not Voting – 2
Isakson (R-GA)   Paul (R-KY)

Ohio:  Brown (D-OH), Nay  Portman (R-OH), Yea

Ohio U.S. representatives

Please check below to see how YOUR U.S. Rep voted today on HJ 69, (renamed SJ Res 18 in the U.S. Senate). Then, call him either to thank him for his vote or to respectfully tell him his vote does not represent your views and why.

Ohio U.S. reps voted strictly on party lines. 

Steve Chabot (R) YES (513) 684-2723
Warren Davidson (R) YES (513) 779-5400
Bob Gibbs (R) YES (419) 207-0650 
Jim Jordan (R) YES (419) 999-6455
Bill Johnson (R) YES (740)-376-0868
David Joyce (R) YES (440) 352-3939
Bob Latta (R) YES (419) 354-8700
Jim Renacci (R) YES (330) 336-3001
Steve Stivers (R) YES (614) 771-4968
Pat Tiberi (R) YES (614) 895-0900
Mike Turner (R) YES (937) 225-2843
Brad Wenstrup (R) YES (513) 474-7777

Joyce Beatty (D) NO (202) 225-4324 
Marcia Fudge (D) NO (216) 522-4900
Marcy Kaptur (D) NO (216) 767-5933
Tim Ryan (D) NO (330) 630-7311

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll098.xml (Check non-Ohio US reps’ votes here)

Please call Columbus to oppose HB 278, “County Humane Societies”

HB 278 Weakens the Effective Prosecution of Ohio Animal Cruelty

Opposition testimony is being heard in Columbus for HB 278, “Special Prosecutors”, on Tuesday, February 23, 2016.  I strongly encourage you to write to the leadership of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee in opposition to this bill.

You may use any part of my blog that you like.  It is always better if you vary it so that all of the letters do not sound the same.

Links to both the bill and its analysis follow the blog.

House Government Accountability and Oversight

Rep Tim W. Brown, chair   rep03@ohiohouse.gov   (614) 466-8104

Rep Louis W. Blessing, vice chair  rep29@ohiohouse.gov  (614) 466-9091

Rep Kathleen Clyde, ranking minority member rep75@ohiohouse.gov  (614) 466-2004

HB 278 Has Shut its Eyes to Rampant Violence

I oppose the passage of HB 278, “Special Prosecutors”, sponsored by Representative Stephen Hambley.  Animal cruelty, a gateway act to human violence, must be prosecuted with great vigor in order to effectively safeguard our communities.

The animal crime is often the most visible sign in the area that others too (children, elderly, handicapped, partners) may also be in danger of unmitigated violence or extreme neglect.

The county humane society is in the best position right now to properly choose between the special prosecutor and the county prosecutor.  HB 278 takes away that choice.

What happens when the already overworked, county prosecutor – with no training in animal law – gets an animal crime case with no potential for a large settlement? That case quickly moves to the bottom of his stack. It may never soon see the light of day.

In the meantime, the seized animals are on hold in the local humane society.   That humane society is providing the daily cost of care, veterinary care, behavior assessment, and rehabilitation training. Those costs become staggering with many, confiscated animals, detained over a long time.   That weighty, financial burden can potentially cause a humane society to fail.

Also, each day dogs and cats are impounded, adds a risk to the well-being of the animal victims. Additionally, the animals in custody are taking space, resources, and finances that cannot be used for local animals in need.

Moreover, HB 278 allows removal of humane agents by the Probate Court without cause and removes the broad reporting requirement for child abuse cases.

HB 278 does have worthy attributes.  It removes the residency requirement for humane agents.  Thus, Ohio humane agents would be able to work outside of the county in which they reside.  In addition, the county would raise the monthly pay for humane agents from $25 to $150.

Ohio needs animal law attorneys on the job for animal crimes.   These special prosecutors have the knowledge, training, and expertise to facilitate a quick resolution to animal crime cases.

The swift prosecution of animal crimes by experienced, animal law attorneys is a necessary prong in Ohio’s defense against sinister, violent forces hard at work, hidden in plain sight, in our communities.

 

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-278

 Read the bill in its entirety at the link above.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/download?key=4090&format=pdf

Read the analysis of HB 278 at the link above.

 

Oppose HB 198, “Special Prosecutors”

 

House Bill 198 – Opposition Testimony of

Matt Ditchey, Esq., Representative

Angels for Animals, Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio,  Joseph’s Legacy, Justice for Herbie, Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, Nitro Foundation / Nitro’s Ohio Army, Ohio Voters for Companion Animals, Inc., and Paws and the Law

June 16, 2015 – House Judiciary Committee

Good morning Chairman Butler and Members of the House Judiciary Committee.

My name is Matt Ditchey, Esq. and I currently live in Green Township, Ohio (Mahoning County). I am submitting written testimony on behalf of the following eight grassroots animal welfare organizations: Angels for Animals, Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio, Joseph’s Legacy, Justice for Herbie, Nitro Foundation/Nitro’s Ohio Army, Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, Ohio Voters for Companion Animals, Inc. and Paws and the Law as opposed party for Ohio House Bill 198. 

Representing over 77,000 constituents across 81 Ohio counties, our eight Ohio-citizen driven, community based organizations are the driving force behind legislative efforts to address issues impacting the health and safety of companion animals as defined under Ohio Revised Code 959. Our supporters include a diverse section of voters and taxpayers from across the state, including but not limited to, a broad range of dog enthusiasts, veterinarians, breeders, animal care and welfare organizations, animal control representatives, appointed humane agents, judges, attorneys, and government employees who understand state and federal governance.

Given our coalition’s dedication to educate and support the law enforcement and judicial communities in the enforcement and administration of Ohio’s animal welfare laws, I want to begin my testimony by thanking Representative Hambley’s leadership in addressing criminal prosecution authority as a component within this important piece of legislation for Ohioans.

Our coalition strongly agrees that the first step in the successful criminal prosecution of crimes related to animal cruelty begins with the governance of Ohio Revised Code. However, our supporters have expressed concerns that HB 198 will weaken the current provisions under 2931.18 which allows a humane society or its agent to employ an attorney to prosecute violations of law relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. Their greatest concerns include the following:

1. The proposed legislation repeals the statute authorizing a humane society or its agent to employ an attorney and to also employ one or more assistant attorneys to prosecute violations of law relating to prevention of cruelty to animals.

Recommendation: Retain the original language under 2931.18.  A unique aspect of prosecuting animal cruelty cases is that the evidence includes living creatures that require daily care.  We firmly believe having the ability to appoint a special prosecutor allows humane societies to work with an experienced specialist in animal statutes, case law and veterinary reporting. This specialist is able to prioritize animal cruelty and neglect cases and expeditiously establish custody of animals that cannot humanely be held in a cage while waiting for their day in our hard-working, but heavily burdened court system. 

2.  The proposed legislation seeks to move the oversight of special prosecutors employed by humane societies perceived to be without any accountability to either a county prosecutor or municipal law director.

Recommendation: Retain the original language under 2931.18 and consider alternative language which would appoint a probate judge to review all pre-prosecution agreements prior to execution by the courts.  (It is important to note the records involving all of a humane society’s resolved criminal cases are available to any Ohioan who requests them under the Ohio Sunshine Laws.) 

Our eight groups and their supporters firmly believe that changes to 2931.18 under House Bill 198 will remove an important tool for humane societies to successfully prosecute animal cruelty cases. Most importantly, we believe the proposed abolition of humane societies’ authority to employ an attorney could create scenarios for cases of egregious violations under 959.131(B) to fall by the wayside for already overworked elected and appointed prosecutors. This is of special concern given that a recent report released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund has shown Ohio has not yet evolved to placing a greater emphasis on animal welfare in the intervening decades when compared to other states in the Midwest.

It is our hope this Committee will reflect on the opinions expressed by our eight groups and their supporters in today’s testimony prior to recommending Ohio House Bill 198 for review and passage by the House Judiciary Committee.

As the representative for Angels for Animals, Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio, Joseph’s Legacy, Justice for Herbie, Nitro Foundation/Nitro’s Ohio Army, Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, Ohio Voters for Companion Animals, Inc. and Paws and the Law, I greatly appreciate your time and consideration on this important piece of legislation for Ohioans, and I welcome any questions you may have.