Tag Archives: animal welfare

Send your VOICES & TWEETS to Columbus!

OHIO ANIMAL ACTION ALERT!

SB 331. “Dog Sales in Pet Stores”, IS EXPECTED TO HAVE AMENDMENTS AND TO BE VOTED ON and PASSED BY THE FULL HOUSE THIS WEEK!

Your VOICES & TWEETS are needed to STOP the passage of SB 331,”Dog Sales in Pet Stores”

Tuesday, December 4 – House Finance Committee hearing, possible amendments added

Some two hundred jurisdictions across the nation have passed ordinances, banning the sale of mill animals in pet stores.

Additionally, some twenty-one states have passed “Puppy Lemon Laws”.  These laws promote the humane treatment of animals and  protect unsuspecting consumers from purchasing unhealthy, unsocialized animals.

OHIO is headed in the OPPOSITE direction!

It appears that special interests and big business influence state law.  The chorus of “No More Big Government” is silent here.  State government is strong-arming Ohio voters by moving quickly to OVERTURN “home rule” in Toledo and Grove City and to prevent it from popping up in jurisdictions across the state.  

These bills are primarily an affront to our Ohio Constitution. Our Constitution has “home rule”.  “Home rule” intends to protect the wisdom of each community to know best what its own values are and to independently legislate in order to preserve those values.   

When Petland comes a-knocking, our state legislators open the door wide. The Statehouse ignores the state Constitution, the will of its voters, and the orderly progression of bills. 

The business interests of one company, Petland, are being promoted by the Ohio General Assembly over “home rule”, the will of the voters, consumer protections, and animal welfare. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Ohio, CALL your STATE REPRESENTATIVES and the HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE in opposition to SB 331.  Instructions and contact information follow below.  This bill is a runaway locomotive, … but that does not mean we should not try.
  • If you buy pet food, animal toys, pet shampoo, or pet products of any kind, thank you for only supporting those stores that advocate for our animal friends and the families that purchase them.  

SB 331, “Dog Sales in Pet Stores”, PASSED the Ohio Senate.  It aims to pass the House in the next couple of weeks.

Sponsor – Senator Bob Peterson (R), Cosponsors – Senators John Eklund (R) and Bill Seitz (R)

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

Please RESPECTFULLY write or call the members of the House Finance committee.  It’s always better to tweak the script to make it fresh.  Calls require more effort of the office staff than e-mails; therefore, our calls make a stronger impression in Columbus. 

You might say, “Good morning, Chair Smith.  This is (your name) from (your city).  I strongly urge you to VOTE NO on SB 331, ‘Dog Sales in Pet Stores’.  

“I stand firmly against this bill for several reasons.  First, it was only introduced in the late spring.  SB 331 is being fast-tracked and has not been properly vetted.  

“Second, I am opposed to the state legislators stomping on ‘home rule’, embedded in the Ohio Constitution.   “Home rule” says 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’ (132 state legislators) deciding what’s best for all and imposing laws which the local jurisdictions do not want.

“Third, state legislation should protect unsuspecting families from buying defective, unsocialized animals instead of opening the floodgates to sell more mill animals.

“Fourth, how do the wishes of one, Ohio business, Petland, override the wishes of the voters in Toledo, Grove City, and in jurisdictions across the state?

“Again, I urge you to VOTE NO on SB 331, ‘Dog Sales in Pet Stores’.”

House Finance Committee

Rep Ryan Smith (R), Chair  (614) 466-1366  rep93@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Scott Ryan (R), Vice Chair  (614) 466-1482  rep71@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Denise Driehaus (D), Ranking Minority Member  (614) 466-5786  rep31@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Marlene Anielski (R), (614) 644-6041  rep06@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Nickie J. Antonio (D), (614) 466-5921  rep13@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Kevin Boyce (D), (614) 466-5343 rep25@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Tony Burkley (R), (614) 644-5091  rep82@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Jack Cera (D), (614) 466-3735  rep96@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Kathleen Clyde (D), (614) 466-2004 rep75@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Robert Cupp (R),  (614) 466-9624  rep04@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Timothy Derickson (R),  (614) 644-5094  rep53@ohiohouse.gov

Rep John Patterson (D), (614) 466-1405  rep99@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Debbie Phillips (D), (614) 466-2158  rep94@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Barbara Sears (R), (614) 466-1731  rep47@ohiohouse.gov

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.