Tag Archives: animal abuse

Please TWEET or CALL Ohio Governor Kasich

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed SB 331, the ‘Petland’ bill, into law, “behind closed doors and without additional comment”, as reported by the Vindicator.  

A huge thanks goes to each of you for all the calls and tweets that  sent to the governor. You stayed active, dedicated, and strong right until the final moments.

You are wonderful advocates for our animal friends.

Governor Kasich and the legislators that VOTED YES on SB 331 did not listen to us. The bill moved very quickly through the legislature and then to the governor. Interested parties were not included in all of the discussions. It was not properly vetted.

Governor Kasich and the legislators who voted yes have failed us and the animals that we love.

There are some 22 states have passed “Puppy Lemon” laws and 206 jurisdictions across the nation that have passed pet store ordinances, aimed at drying up the market for mill animals. 

Why has Ohio moved so quickly in the OPPOSITE direction?

Petland could continue to stay in business utilizing a humane, business model, as other successful, national, pet stores use.

Finally, the governor and the Statehouse majority have stomped ‘home-rule’, embedded in the Ohio Constitution. The same legislators that cry “No more big government”, always bristling at interference from the federal government, have dishonored the work and the judgement of local jurisdictions and have taken away some of their legal rights with the passage of SB 331.

How did YOUR STATE SENATOR and YOUR STATE REP vote?  A YES VOTE means they are in support of SB 331. A NO VOTE means they are opposed to SB 331.

Ohio Senate Vote – December 7, 2016

Yeas : 21 – Nays : 10

Yeas

Kevin Bacon (R), Troy Balderson (R), Bill Beagle (R), Dave Burke (R), Bill Coley (R), John Eklund (R), Keith Faber (R), Bob D. Hackett (R), Cliff Hite (R), Jay Hottinger (R),Shannon Jones (R), Kris Jordan (R), Frank LaRose (R), Peggy Lehner (R), Gayle Manning (R),Larry Obhof (R), Scott Oelslager (R), Tom Patton (R), Bob Peterson (R), Bill Seitz (R), Joe Uecker (R), Bob D. Hackett (R)

Nays

Edna Brown (D), Randy Gardner (R), Lou Gentile (D), Tom Sawyer (D), Joe Schiavoni (D), Michael J. Skindell (D), Charleta B. Tavares (D), Cecil Thomas (D), Sandra R. Williams (D), Kenny Yuko (D)

Ohio House Votes – December 7, 2016

Yeas : 55 – Nays : 42

Yeas

Ron Amstutz (R), Marlene Anielski (R), Niraj J. Antani (R), Steven Arndt (R), Nan A. Baker (R), John Becker (R), Louis W. Blessing III (R), Terry Boose (R), Andrew Brenner (R), Jim Buchy (R), Tony Burkley (R), Jim Butler (R), Margaret Conditt (R), Robert R. Cupp (R), Anthony DeVitis (R), Bill Dean (R), Jonathan Dever (R), Mike Dovilla (R), Theresa Gavarone (R), Timothy E. Ginter (R), Anne Gonzales (R), Wesley A. Goodman (R), Doug Green (R), Christina Hagan (R), David Hall (R), Bill Hayes (R), Michael Henne (R), Brian Hill (R), Ron Hood (R), Stephen A. Huffman (R), Candice R. Keller (R), Kyle Koehler (R), Al Landis (R), Ron Maag (R), Nathan H. Manning (R), Robert McColley (R), Derek Merrin (R), Dorothy Pelanda (R), Rick Perales (R), Bill Reineke (R), Wes Retherford (R), Kristina Roegner (R), Mark J. Romanchuk (R), Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R), Scott Ryan (R), Tim Schaffer (R), Gary Scherer (R), Kirk Schuring (R), Marilyn Slaby (R), Ryan Smith (R), Robert Sprague (R), Louis Terhar (R), Andy Thompson (R), Ron Young (R), Paul Zeltwanger (R)

 Nays

Nickie J. Antonio (D), Mike Ashford (D), John Barnes, Jr. (D), Heather Bishoff (D), John Boccieri (D), Kristin Boggs (D), Kevin Boyce (D), Janine R. Boyd (D), Thomas E. Brinkman, Jr. (R), Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D), Jack Cera (D), Kathleen Clyde (D), Hearcel F. Craig (D), Michael F. Curtin (D), Denise Driehaus (D), Mike Duffey (R), Teresa Fedor (D), Cheryl L. Grossman (R), Stephen D. Hambley (R), Stephanie D. Howse (D), Greta Johnson (D), Christie Bryant Kuhns (D), Stephanie Kunze (R), Sarah LaTourette (R), David Leland (D), Michele Lepore-Hagan (D), Michael J. O’Brien (D), Sean O’Brien (D), Bill Patmon (D), John Patterson (D), Debbie Phillips (D), Alicia Reece (D), Jeffery S. Rezabek (R), John M. Rogers (D), Margaret Ann Ruhl (R), Michael Sheehy (D), Stephen Slesnick (D), Kent Smith (D), Fred Strahorn (D), Martin J. Sweeney (D), Emilia Strong Sykes (D), A. Nino Vitale (R)

SB 331 also OVERTURNS the pet store ordinances already in effect in Toledo and Grove City and STOPS other, Ohio jurisdictions from passing future pet store ordinances. 

Please send a RESPECTFUL tweet, expressing disappointment in the passage of SB 331.  I know that many of you are angry, hurt, and fed up.  This bill is not fair to our puppies, our families, and our workers.  Yet, your message will not be well received unless it is POLITE.

You may tweet these phrases, or you might want to tweet your personal message.  

#SB331stompshomerule 22 states & 205 jurisdictions protect unsuspecting consumers – Why not Ohio?

#SB331stompshomerule OH Gov Kasich fails workers, families, & puppies

#SB331stompshomerule fast-tracked without proper vetting hurts OH workers, consumers, puppies

Is Ohio HOME RULE state (Statehouse said yes on BSL bill) or not (Statehouse said no on Petland bill)?

 Would you like to create a Twitter account?  It is free.  You can set up an account in a few easy steps.  Ask a teenager for help if you need support.

I went down the entire Twitter list here on this page in just 2 minutes, tweeting to all.

Yes, you can use your e-mail address (instead of your telephone number).

https://support.twitter.com/articles/100990

Twitter accounts 

@JohnKasich  —   John Kasich, governor

@TeamJohnKasich  —   John Kasich, communication team

@OhioSenateGOP  —  Ohio Senate GOP Caucus

@OhioSenateDems  —  Ohio Senate Dem Caucus

@OHRGOPCaucus  —  Ohio House GOP Caucus

@OHHouseDems  —  Ohio House Dem Caucus

@OhioPoliticsNow  —  Columbus Dispatch, politics

@Enquirer  —  Cincinnati Enquirer

@jpelzer  —  Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland Plain Dealer

@dskolnick  —  David Skolnick, Youngstown Vindicator

@ohiocapitalblog  —  Marc Kovac

@ThomasSuddes —  Thomas Suddes

@ohioaj  —  Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch

@dispatcheditor  — Alan D. Miller, editor at Columbus Dispatch

                                Add your own hometown newspaper.

Call Governor Kasich at 614-466-3555.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-331   (Read SB 331 here.)

Are the people and animals in your Cincinnati neighborhood safe and warm?

Winter is bearing down hard. Please check on your elderly and handicapped neighbors, who live alone, as well as animals who may be abandoned.  Make sure that they are safe and warm.  

Cincinnati has an ordinance in place for outside dogs.  The dogs may not be endlessly tethered between 10 PM and 6 AM, when the temperatures fall below 20 degrees, when there is an extreme weather advisory, and when no one is home.   

The ordinance is enforced, because of the generosity of our Cincinnati Police Department.  Please call a non-emergency number to politely report an animal in distress.

Kindly thank the Cincinnati police officers, who work under very stressful conditions to protect us and the animals we love!

Read the tethering ordinance at the link below.

http://city-egov.cincinnati-oh.gov/Webtop/ws/council/public/child/Blob/46099.pdf?rpp=-10&m=2&w=doc_no%3D%27201601333%27  

Will you be an advocate for outside dogs in your community?

Want to be a champion for chained dogs?

Is it legal in your community to abandon dogs to the backyard in both plummeting, winter temperatures and sweltering, summer heat? 

Why not take initiative where you live to see a tethering ordinance passed? 

Two, huge paws up!

Two, huge paws up to the many, proactive, Ohio communities that have already passed common sense legislation!  Tethering ordinances exist in more than thirty-six, Ohio jurisdictions and more than twenty states.

Most of the Ohio ordinances are based on the Cleveland ordinance, linked here. 

http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Ohio/cleveland_oh/cityofclevelandohiocodeofordinances?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:cleveland_oh  

(Cleveland ordinance)

https://columbus.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3154969&GUID=A4FB5290-B19C-4FC4-8DC1-935C900C77A5&Options=ID|Text|&Search= 

(Columbus ordinance)

The Cincinnati, tethering ordinance was passed and went into effect on October 12, 2016. It is enforced by the Cincinnati Police Department. 

Common tethering ordinances do not allow the animal to be tied outside in extreme weather, between 10 PM – 6 AM, and when the owner is not home.

Often, these ordinances are quickly passed because dedicated city leaders understand the importance not only of protecting their animals, but also safeguarding their residents against nuisance and aggressive behavior, associated with endlessly chained animals. 

Please note that Ohio counties cannot pass a tethering ordinance.  Each jurisdiction within the county must pass the ordinance on its own.

      Promoting Public Safety

Tethering ordinances are good for both our animals and our communities.  They are common sense requirements  for the endlessly tethered dogs, who lead lives of frustration, loneliness, and boredom. Tying the animals without relief encourages the dogs to be defensive of their small territory.

The ordinances also promote safeguards for people, particularly children, who may wander into the dog’s area and encounter a dog poised to defend his small space.   CDC reports that a tethered dog is 3 times more likely to bite.  Children under 12 are 5 times more likely to be bitten by a dog.

Animal cruelty is powerfully connected to interpersonal violence and some, untreated, mental illness.  The animal abuse and extreme neglect can be a red flag that others in the area (children, elders, partners) are also in danger. 

Contributing to Quality of Life 

Tethered dogs are often the source of community nuisance.  They bark, howl, and whine continuously in their neighborhoods.  Needless tension and ongoing conflicts arise among neighbors over those annoying cries at all hours.

Yards and city lots with scruffy dogs tied to a stake, that often use old, worn out cars or rusted barrels as their shelter, are unsightly. They add to urban blight.

Encouraging Humane Treatment of Animals 

Dogs suffer physically and psychologically.  Endlessly tethering a dog out back, with no social interaction, with no relief from habitual pacing in a small area, with no protection from extreme weather – is unconscionable. 

Dogs on tethers can be injured or killed.  They get tangled around a tree, a pole, or a bush.  They can hang themselves on a fence. Their collars can become too tight or embedded in their necks. 

Our laws should reflect our community values.  Cincinnati, where I live, is a place where people care about their next-door neighbors – human and canine – and their fifty-two neighborhoods.  They want to live in healthy, vibrant, and top-notch communities, where families and their animals are safe, respected, and well-treated.

I strongly urge you to call your city council or township trustees TODAY to get a tethering ordinance passed where you live.

Need help?  PM me, Beth Sheehan, or J.D. Cooke on FB. 

Check out Jason’s FB page, Unchain Ohio, at the link.

https://www.facebook.com/unchainohio/?fref=nf

Let’s unchain outside dogs!

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

Is your state rep a humane legislator?

Paws and the Law is proud to endorse

these humane legislators …

The single, most important act you can take to curb animal cruelty and neglect is to VOTE SMART!  Vote for HUMANE LEGISLATORS that have a proven, voting record of sponsoring / cosponsoring and voting for good, companion animal bills and voting against bad ones.

Here are the humane legislators, currently serving in the House of Representatives.  The newer representatives are not included since they do not have a significant voting record yet.  Some candidates on your November 8 ballot have no voting records because they have not been elected yet.

Please VOTE SMART for HUMANE LEGISLATORS on November 8.  All 99 House seats and half of the 33 Senate seats will be on the ballot. These are the Columbus decision makers who vote for (or against) our companion animal laws.

Find your state rep and your state senator by filling in BOTH boxes (zip code PLUS four-digit extension) at the link below.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legisl…/find-my-legislators

Candidates running for office have both a web site and a Facebook page.  Why not call them or message them on their web page or on Facebook?  Ask them which companion animal bills they have voted for in the past.  Ask what their position is on an animal cruelty registry, animal fighting, and felony for animal cruelty.

Be sure to share what you have learned with your family and friends before November 8!

Because of our heavily gerrymandered districts in Ohio, the November winners for our Senate and House will be largely determined in March. Yet, that does not mean that we should not try!

Thank you for VOTING SMART!

 Marlene Anielski (R ) 

Nickie J. Antonio (D)

Michael D. Ashford (D) 

John E. Barnes (D) 

Heather Bishoff (D)

Louis Blessing (R) 

Kristin Boggs (D) 

Janine Boyd (D) 

Tim Brown (R )

 Jim Butler (R ) 

Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D) 

 Jack Cera (D) 

Kathleen Clyde (D) 

Margaret Conditt (R )  

Bob Cupp (R ) 

Anthony DeVitis (R ) 

Mike Duffey (R ) 

Tim Ginter (R ) 

Anne Gonzales (R ) 

Doug Green (R ) 

Christina M. Hagan (R ) 

Stephanie Howse (D)

Jim Hughes (R)

Terry A. Johnson (R )

Al Landis (R ) 

Michele Lepore-Hagan (D) 

John Patterson (D) 

Rick Perales (R ) …

Dan Ramos (D) 

Alicia Reece (D) 

Wes Retherford (R ) 

John M. Rogers (D) 

Mark Romanchuk (R ) 

Cliff Rosenberger (R )

Gary K. Scherer (R ) …

Kirk Schuring (R) 

Michael Sheehy (D)

Marilyn Slaby (R)  

Kent Smith (D) 

Ryan Smith (R )

Robert Cole Sprague (R )

Fred Strahorn (D) 

Ron Young (R ) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace and Her Pups, Cincinnati, Outside Dogs

Does it matter to you that some dogs are outside year round without the protection of a decent shelter during extreme temperatures and in hazardous weather?  These animals may also be tied to a tree or chained to a stake.  Here is the shocking story, written by a compassionate friend, of one Cincinnati dog, Grace, and her pups.

“In the winter of 2010 we rescued a female dog and her 8 week old pup from a residence in Cincinnati, Ohio. ‘Grace’ had lived her entire life tied to a tree with absolutely no shelter from the frigid winter or blazing heat of the summers and with very little food.  The winter she was rescued, she had had six puppies and five of those puppies died from exposure, frozen solid to the ground, before anyone got involved. Grace somehow managed to keep one puppy alive. We named him Willy. When we rescued Grace and Willy they were sick and totally emaciated. They would not have survived another night in the frigid winter weather. It is hard to imagine what life was like for Grace, and even harder to imagine how she survived giving birth while tied to a tree in the freezing cold of winter with no shelter.”

Have you got five minutes at home each week to give to help outside dogs?  Then, please join Paws and the Law today.  PM Beth Sheehan to get started.  

Ohio can and should do better!

What is your commitment to Ohio dogs and cats – silver, gold, platinum, or bronze?

Our pets need protection with greater enforcement of existing law and further enactment of stronger laws.

I commit to do what I can, where I am for our beloved cats and dogs.

Silver Level

I can easily work from the comfort of my home. I will use social media to promote awareness of animal cruelty and neglect.  I can easily “like”, share, and comment.

I will also tweet the news articles so that newspaper editors will be alerted to my interest in animal welfare. Editors take note of the number of interactions on their web sites and plan future coverage on those numbers.  So, the more interactions there are with the articles, the more future coverage there will be.

Gold Level

I will use social media and will encourage my family and friends to connect too in order to broaden our humane-minded community.

Platinum Level

I’ll stay connected to my humane community.  I will also write / call / visit important local and state politicians in support of companion animal legislation.

I will attend the peaceful rallies and pet events near my home that Nitro’s Ohio Army organizes. His Army is “boots on the ground” to advocate for justice for individual animals that have been injured or killed and to educate the public about companion animal bills and laws. 

I will be an active, informed voter. I will take note of which candidates are humane-minded.

Bronze Level

I love what you are doing in Ohio to help dogs and cats.  I live outside of Ohio, but I am with you in spirit, cheering you to victory.  I’ll use social media to promote your efforts.  I hope similar initiatives succeed across the nation.

Call your US rep today in support of HR 2293, the PACT Act (Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture)!

A landmark bill, HR 2293, the PACT Act (Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture) is the first ever, federal bill aimed at prosecuting intentional animal cruelty.  The PACT Act gives the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorneys the authority to investigate and to prosecute animal cruelty cases.  While individual states across the nation have their own animal cruelty statutes, this federal bill grants an even wider reach into areas where individual states’ laws do not reach.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2293  (Read the bill here.)

Sponsor:  Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)

Cosponsors: Reps. Trent Franks (AZ), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Martha McSally (AZ), Julia Brownley (CA), Ken Calvert (CA), Tony Cardenas (CA), Judy Chu (CA), Susan Davis (CA), Sam Farr (CA), Grace Napolitano (CA), Scott Peters (CA), Adam Schiff (CA), Eric Swalwell (CA), Mark Takano (CA), David G. Valadao (CA), Mike Coffman (CO), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT), Elizabeth H. Esty (CT), Theodore Deutch (FL), Lois Frankel (FL), Alcee L. Hastings (FL), Vern Buchanan (FL),Carlos Curbelo (FL),  Frederica S. Wilson (FL), Austin Scott (GA), Dold, Robert Dold (IL), Mike Quigly (IL), Peter J. Visclosky (IN), Michael E. Capuano (MA), Stephen Lynch (MA),  James McGovern (MA), Chris Van Hollen (MD), John Sarbanes (MD), Chellie Pingree (ME), Keith Ellison (MN), Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (NJ), Donald Norcross (NJ), Eliot L Engel (NY), John Katko (NY), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Albio Sires (NJ), Joseph Heck (NV), Dina Titus (NV), Nita M. Lowey (NY), Jerrold  Nadler (NY), Louise McIntosh Slaughter (NY), David Price (NC), Joyce Beatty (OH), Steve Chabot (OH), Steve Stivers (OH), Michael Turner (OH), Earl Blumenauer (OR),  Suzanne Bonamici (OR), Mike Kelly (PA), Brendan F. Boyle (PA), Matt Cartwright (PA), Michael G. Fitzpatrick (PA), Tom Marino (PA), Patrick Meehan (PA), David N. Cicilline (RI), Steve Cohen (TN),  Beto O’Rourke (TX), Barbara Comstock (VA), Gerald E. Connolly (VA), Peter Welch (VT), Derek Kilmer (WA), Adam Smith (WA), Gwen Moore (WI), Mark Pocan (WI)

                                                         WHAT YOU CAN DO

First, locate your federal representative.

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/   (Find your US representative here by typing in your zip code in the box.)

Second, if your federal representative is not listed as a cosponsor above, call him to ask him if he will cosponsor this bill.  You might say, “Good morning, Representative ________.  I am _ (your name)__ from __(your city)__, __(your state)__ .  I am one of your constituents.  I am calling today to ask you to cosponsor  HR 2293, the PACT Act.  This important federal bill allows the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys to investigate and to prosecute intentional, animal cruelty.

“This is particularly important in today’s culture of violence because of the powerful connections between interpersonal violence, animal cruelty, and some, mental illness. Where there is animal cruelty, we all are at risk.”

If your federal representative is listed, please call him thanking him for sponsoring HR 2693.

You might say, “Dear Representative _______.  I am _(your name)__ from __(your city)__, __(your state)_.  I am one of your constituents.  I am calling to thank you for cosponsoring HR 2293, the PACT Act.

“As you know, because of the powerful connections between interpersonal violence, animal cruelty, and some mental illness, where there is animal abuse, we are all at risk.”

Amendment to “Goddard’s Law” may cause dire, unintended consequences

I stand firmly opposed to the passage of HB 60, “Goddard’s Law”, because of its recently introduced amendment. 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 differing directions at once.   HB 60, as introduced, aims to protect both companion animals and Ohio communities with a felony provision for animal cruelty. 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.

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, 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 of felony prosecution of animal cruelty cases. This unintended effect alone for me is worth stopping the bill.

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 to accompany it? 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.

Each day dogs and cats are impounded in the humane society, 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.

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.

I do not seek a change of heart of those Ohio legislators without compassion for suffering animals.

I do, however, remind those legislators of their primary responsibility to their electorate – to safeguard, Ohio communities against the epidemic violence devastating our communities.

The powerful connections among interpersonal violence, animal cruelty, and some, mental illness are well researched. The recognition of the dangerous effect that nasty web has on our most vulnerable populations has catapulted important legislative change forward across this nation.

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

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.