Tag Archives: amendment

Do you have ten minutes to advocate for Ohio mill puppies and kittens?

Kindly write or call important decision makers in Columbus to push back against the contentious amendment in HB 166!

The “Pet Store Animal Sales” amendment, recently slipped into HB 166, an unrelated tax cleanup bill, lays a legal foundation for continuing ‘profits over pups’. 

This amendment aims to OVERTURN the ban on the sale of mill animals in pet stores already passed in Toledo and Grove City and to STOP future ordinances from passing in Ohio cities.

This amendment overrides “home rule”, the ability of individual jurisdictions to understand and to regulate their local issues. Will the state legislature be enacting other legislation to nullify more local ordinances?

The ever-popular “End Big Government” chorus is silent here.  State legislators appear to be strong-arming the small jurisdictions by moving suddenly on this undesirable amendment, right before summer break. These legislators are now poised to impose the will of a few onto the many.  

Costly, ongoing problems come with the purchase of mill animals.  Designer pets, originating in mills, with hidden health and behavior problems, are often sold for $1,000, $1,500, even several thousands of dollars per animal. Cleaned up, groomed, and endearing – but seriously defective – pets are sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Moreover, this recently added amendment is a clear example of special interests and lobbyists directing the legislature.  Petland has a law suit against Grove City because of the ordinance that passed there in March to ban mill animals from being sold in pet stores.

Petland approached Senator Bob Peterson (R) of Chillicothe, where Petland’s world headquarters is located, to add this amendment to a bill.  Senator Peterson is the chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee, that is hearing HB 166 with the horrendous, Petland-backed amendment. 

Also, the “Pet Stores Animal Sales” amendment states, “The regulation of pet stores is a matter of general statewide interest that requires statewide regulation.”   I agree that this is a laudable goal.   It should, however, be reached in a decidedly different manner.  Instead of voiding local ordinances with state bills, the senators should be applauding the legislative initiatives and due diligence of Grove City and Toledo. 

Widespread awareness of the miserable conditions in which animals are raised by large-scale, dog merchants has launched a flurry of protective, legislative action across the nation.  Over 160 jurisdictions nationwide have passed ordinances to ban the sale of mill animals in pet stores with a half dozen more poised to pass their own ordinances.  

More than 21 states (AZ, AK, CA, CT, DE, FL, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NB, NV, NH, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA) have enacted “Puppy Lemon Laws”. “Puppy Lemon” laws are common sense consumer protections that guard against individuals unknowingly buying a dog or cat with expensive, health or severe behavior problems.

Senator Peterson was recently quoted in the media as saying he wanted to see animals coming from USDA-licensed breeders.  Unfortunately, Senator, the USDA-licensed breeders require only the most bare, minimum standards of care to keep an animal alive. 

Pet stores nationwide regularly advertise that their puppies and kittens come from USDA-licensed breeders.  This is an attempt to relax unsuspecting consumers.  The consumers believe that this means these animals are not bred in mills. That is not so.  That USDA-license neither assures that the animals were housed in sanitary conditions nor confirms that the animals had adequate, veterinary care. 

Big business is at its worst here. One business with its world headquarters in Ohio is directing state law, against the will of the voters across the state. 

There is a hearing in Columbus on HB 166 this Wednesday WITH A POSSIBLE VOTE. We do not want the amendment to be voted on in committee. We want the amendment to be taken out.

If the committee votes on HB 166 WITH the amendment, it is also possible that HB 166 could move to the Senate floor for a vote. This would not be good.

There is a similar, pet store bill in Arizona that has passed both the House and the Senate. It awaits the governor’s signature.  

“’We want to grow in all four corners of the state,’ said Mike Gonidakis, Petland attorney and lobbyist. ‘Our world headquarters is in Chillicothe. We’re a family-owned business that employs 500 people statewide in over 20 stores, and we want to grow. But radicals have been picking off city councils one at a time to ban us from operating.’”

Both Toledo and Grove City Councils have passed resolutions opposing this amendment.

When Illinois Governor Quinn signed his “Puppy Lemon” bill into law, he stated, ”This law … is all about protecting our pets and protecting our families who love their pets.  We don’t want those who are conducting these puppy mills anywhere in the United States to get away with what they’re doing. That’s our real mission.”

Please write or call the members of the Senate Ways and Means committee.  RESPECTFULLY ask that the “Pet Stores Animal Sales” amendment be taken out of HB 166.

“Dear Chair Peterson, Vice Chair Beagle, Ranking Minority Member Tavares, and honorable members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee,”

“I strongly urge you to strike the “Pet Store Animal Sales” amendment, recently slipped into HB 166, a tax cleanup bill.”

“I stand firmly against this amendment for several reasons.  First, I am opposed to the state legislators working to end ‘home rule’. Local jurisdictions are in the best position to know what their community values are and to make their own ordinances. This is yet another example of ‘big government’ deciding what’s best for all and imposing laws which the local jurisdictions do not want.”

“Second, state legislation should protect unsuspecting consumers from buying unhealthy, unsocialized animals instead of opening the floodgates to sell more mill animals.”

“Third, this recently added amendment relates specifically to one, Ohio business whose world headquarters is located in the chair of the committee’s district, Chillicothe.”

“In closing, I urge you to strike this contentious amendment from HB 166 before the next committee meeting.”

Sincerely,

–(your name)—

–(your city)—

Senate Ways and Means Committee

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

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

Sen Chaleta Tavares (D), Ranking Minority Member (614) 466-5131 tavares@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Troy Balderson (R), (614) 466-8076 balderson@ohiosenate.gov

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

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

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

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

Sen Kris Jordan (R), (614) 466-8086 jordan@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Sandra Williams (D), (614) 466-4857 williams@ohiosenate.gov

Please copy your e-mails to jsiegel@dispatch.com and jprovance@theblade.com They have been reporting on the amendment.

In my opinion, any legislator in support of this amendment is NOT a HUMANE LEGISLATOR. Do not vote for him or her in November. Keep those names on your radar and widely share them.

Thank you so much for working to stop this fast-tracked, offensive amendment!

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

Issue 1, the Ohio Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment

Please VOTE YES on Issue 1, the Ohio Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment, on our November 3, 2015 ballot.

Issue 1, when passed, will make our districts more fair.  More fair districts mean that our legislators will have to be more responsive to us because they will no longer be in “safe districts”.  This gives our companion animal bills a better chance to pass.

If approved by Ohio voters, Issue 1 will add an amendment to our Ohio constitution. This new amendment defines the makeup and duties of a newly formed Bipartisan Redistricting Commission to draw House and Senate (but not US Congressional) legislative districts in Ohio after each 10 year census.

If passed, Issue 1, the amendment to the Ohio Constitution, will go into effect on November 4, 2015.

The Redistricting Commission will have seven members:

  • the Governor
  • the State Auditor
  • the Secretary of State
  • Appointee by the Speaker of the House
  • Appointee by the President of the Senate
  • Appointee by the Minority Leader of the House
  • Appointee by the Minority Leader of the Senate

If Issue 1 passes, the Redistricting Commission will draw new lines for the House and the Senate beginning in 2021, after the next US census. The amendment forbids the Redistricting Commission from drawing districts that intentionally favor one party or disfavor the other. The districts must be compact, following normal city and county divisions, instead of splitting them up.   Also, there must be public hearings on the proposed, new districts.

At least two members from the minority party must agree on the new House and Senate districts. If there are not at least two votes from the minority party in favor of the new plan, the Redistricting Commission’s plan will last just four years, instead of ten. At the end of four years, the Redistricting Commission must again work together to come up with a plan for the remaining six years.

http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/ballotboard/2015/1-Language.pdf  (Read Issue 1 here.)

The Ohio Democratic Party, the Ohio Republican Party, the AFL-CIO, and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Nuns on the Bus have endorsed Issue 1.

There is no formal opposition to Issue 1.

Early voting for the November 3, 2015 election begins on October 6, 2015. Please use your voices and your votes to make our Ohio communities safe, happy, and productive. 

VOTE YES on Issue 1.  Fair districts mean fair elections.