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PM Beth Sheehan your foster, rescue, or advocacy group name to join the grassroots support for SB 232

Senate Agriculture Committee

SB 232, Veterinarians Continuing Ed for Neutering Services

Proponent Testimony by Beth Sheehan

February 6, 2018

Good afternoon, Chair Hackett, Vice Chair Hoagland, Ranking Minority Member O’Brien, and distinguished members of the Ohio Senate Agriculture Committee.

I am Beth Sheehan, a Hamilton County resident, who stands before you today, representing a broad, grassroots coalition of dog and cat advocates and engaged, Ohio voters – AARF Radio Ohio; Angels for Animals; Animal Pawtectors; Ashtabula County Animal Protective League; The Black Dog Food Pantry; Dogs Unlimited; Fairfield County CARES (Citizens for Animal Rights and Ethical Standards); Falcon Animal Rescue; Family Puppy Boycott-Puppy Mill Awareness of NW Ohio; Harrison County Dog Pound Volunteers; Hartman’s Hounds; Friends of Fido MCDP; Heaven Can Wait; Humane Society of Richland County; Joseph’s Legacy; Justice for Herbie; Kecia Mathys; Max’s Animal Mission; National Animal Shelter Volunteers; Never Muzzled; Nitro’s Ohio Army; North Coast Boxer Rescue; Ohio American Eskimo Rescue; Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates; One of a Kind Pet Rescue; Our Mission Dog Rescue; Paws and the Law; Pawz 2 Adopt, Austintown; Peppermint Pig Animal Rescue; A Perfect Match; Pinealope Animal Rescue; Rescue Village; Rose’s Rescue; Ross County Humane Society; Safe Harbor Animal Rescue, Vermillion; Sanctuary for Senior Dogs; Save Ohio Strays; Soul Connections of Central Ohio; Summit County Shelter; TNR of Warren, Inc.; Tuscarawas County Humane Society; Underdog Society of Knox County; Vote 4 Animals Help Chained Dogs, Dayton; West Side Cats, and 911 Dog Rescue Inc. / Amy’s Adoptables, who enthusiastically support the passage of SB 232, “Veterinary Spay-Neuter Bill”.

SB 232 gives veterinarians the OPTION (not mandate) of receiving up to 2 Continuing Education Units (CEU), out of 30 needed biennially for license renewal, for performing up to four hours of free spay-neuter surgeries.

Why is this a significant bill? Cat and dog population explosion is exponential. Over 70,000 puppies and kittens are born in the U.S. every day.  Some 6.5 million healthy and treatable cats and dogs enter shelters across the nation each year.  About half of them are euthanized, many for space.

One cat can have three litters of kittens per year, with an average of four kittens per litter.  An indoor cat, living to 15-years-old, could produce up to 180 kittens during her lifetime.

One dog can have up to three litters in a year, with an average of seven puppies per litter. One female and her babies can create 67,000 puppies in six years.

Spaying-neutering pets not only saves lives, but protects against pet, health problems, reduces some behavior problems, and also saves taxpayer money.  

Spaying eliminates the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers and infections, and substantially decreases the risk of mammary cancers. Neutering prevents testicular cancer, and reduces the risk of prostate problems.

Unfixed pets may mark their territory by spaying strong smelling urine throughout their homes or digging under fences to meet a mate in heat, only to become a stray dog.

County governments are more efficient and save taxpayer dollars with fewer animals in their shelters.  Many shelter costs will significantly decrease – the animals’ cost-of-care, the shelter employees’ wages, the euthanization expenditures, the price to incinerate their bodies, and the fees to haul their corpses away. Additionally, fewer animal remains will be deposited in the local landfill.

On average, communities spend approximately $8 per capita for animal shelters, handle 30 animals per 1,000 people, and euthanize about 12.5 animals per 1,000 people.

Everybody pays, whether he owns an animal or not. There are additional costs in time, money, and resources to our police, fire, and health departments, hospitals, prosecutors’ offices, and courts with an overflow of animals.  The abundant dogs and cats are involved in cruelty and neglect cases, animal fighting rings, car accidents, stray dog bites, spread of disease, neighborhood disturbances, and violations of local ordinances and state laws.

With the passage of SB 232, we recognize the compassionate, generous work of our veterinarians; we hasten fiscal efficiency of our county governments; we attain a higher standard of humanity for ourselves.

I appreciate the openness of the leadership and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to learn more about this critical bill.  I am pleased to answer your questions. 

Representative Brigid Kelly’s Sponsor Testimony on Jan 23, 2018 for HB 433, “Veterinary Spay-Neuter Bill”

Chairman Young, Vice Chairman DeVitis, Ranking Member Lepore-Hagan, and members of the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide sponsor testimony on House Bill 433 . This bill, brought to Representative Brinkman and I by a constituent in Hamilton County, is a common sense approach to help the veterinarians in our state earn continuing education credit while helping to responsibly curb the issue of pet overpopulation. 

The Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board currently require all veterinarians in the state to report thirty hours of continuing education biennially . These hours may be obtained by numerous ways including online courses, office policy development, journal articles or conferences so long as 20 hours are scientifically related to the practice of veterinary medicine and no more than 10 are non – scientific.

Our legislation would simply allow Ohio veterinarians to receive up to two hours of continuing education per renewal if the licensed veterinarian performs free spaying and neutering services. For every one hour of free spaying and neutering services that the licensed veterinarian performs, they shall receive one – half hour of continuing education credit so long as the services are provided at a practice or facility that is appropriately staffed and equipped for such services and is done in conjunction with either a county humane society, dog pound or non-profit.

A companion bill has already been introduced in the Senate due to rising interest amongst the veterinary and animal rights community to provide veterinarian’s incentives to volunteer their services. Although many believe veterinarians stand to gain substantial knowledge through their involvement in spay/neuter work,  veterinarians would still be required to complete core continuing education requirements by the state.

While estimates on number of unwanted animals in the state are unavailable, the exponential reproductive rates of cats and dogs continues to outpace adoption rates. Many shelters in the state are continuously forced to use euthanasia as the only means to make room for new take ins. The Humane Society of the United States successfully lobbied for the passage of a similar bill in the state of New York in 2016 in hopes that these laws might ease this problem.

Representative Brinkman and I believe that House Bill 433 is an easy step to decreasing the unwanted pet population and the number of animals euthanized at Ohio shelters. I appreciate the chance to offer testimony on House Bill 433 and would be happy to answer any questions.

Thank you, Representatives Kelly and Brinkman, for sponsoring, and DanaMarie Pannella for writing, this important, common sense bill that aims to recognize, with continuing education units, the compassionate work veterinarians do to stem the explosive, population growth of cats and dogs!

SB 232, “Veterinary Spay-Neuter” bill on its way to win!

Are you in?

Follow SB 232, “Veterinary Spay-Neuter” bill on its path to victory for Ohio cats, dogs, & the people that love them!

1. SB 232 started with the idea of reducing the number of healthy and adoptable, shelter pets.

2. Senator Cecil Thomas (D), humane legislator, agreed to sponsor this bill.

3. DanaMarie Pannella, Esq., experienced, compassionate attorney, wrote SB 232.

4. Senator Thomas asked the other senators if they would like to co-sponsor his bill. Senators Schiavoni (D), Yuko (D), and Tavares (D) are now co-sponsors. 

5. On November 14, 2017 the “Veterinary Spay-Neuter” bill was  assigned a number, SB 232.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-SB-232 (Read the bill here.) 

6. On November 15, 2017, the bill was assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee.

7. This is where YOU come in.  YOUR CALLS PUSH SB 232 forward in the process.

It’s always best to change the script a bit so that your message sounds fresh.  You might comment with an original phrase about your feelings.You might say, “Good morning, Senator Hoagland, this is (your name), calling from (your city), an Ohio voter.  —  I’m very excited about SB 232, the “Veterinary Spay-Neuter” bill.  I don’t see how anyone could oppose it because the bill gives veterinarians the option, not a mandate, to perform free spay-neuter in exchange for continuing education units. 

It’s a win-win bill!  I strongly urge you to call SB 232 to a sponsor hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee. – Thank you.”

———————————————————————————————————–

Please PM me, Beth Sheehan, with your e-mail address to be placed on the “Animal Action Alerts!” list. I provide a sample script and contact information. Your call should take about 5 minutes.

Are you in?

Bills and Ballot Initiative in the 132nd Ohio General Assembly

BILLS

1.  HB 226 – “Fireworks” aims to make higher grade fireworks more    accessible      

     OPPOSE

  • sponsors – Rep Bill Seitz (R), Rep Martin Sweeney (D)

  • cosponsors –  Rep Bill Dean (R), Rep John Becker (R), Rep Andy Thompson (R), Rep Wesley Goodman (R), Rep Dick Stein (R), Rep Bill Reineke (R), Rep Louis Blessing (R), Rep Kyle Koehler (R)

  • Fireworks terrify many dogs.  They panic and run away to get away from the explosions.  Shelters fill up with lost dogs after July 4 each year.

  • Woodland animals flee and abandon their nests.

  • Ohio has 800,000 veterans. Veterans with PTSD, sadly, relive the trauma of war when they hear the thunder of fireworks.

  • Individuals with dementia and autism are frightened by the sounds.

  • 120 Ohioans go to ER each year with injuries.  They lose limbs and are blinded. Their homes are set on fire.

  • https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-226 (Read the bill here)
  • status – PASSED OHIO HOUSE, 84-13  on 10/13/17

  • http://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20170919/editorial-new-bill-is-bad-medicine (Dispatch – “Dangerous Fireworks Bill Should Fizzle”)

 

  • http://www.dispatch.com/news/20171011/those-fireworks-youve-been-setting-off-may-finally-be-legal-in-ohio (Dispatch article)

 

2.  HB 263 – “Pups on the Patio”, aims to allow dogs on outdoor patios of restaurants

     SUPPORT

      sponsor – Rep Laura Lanese (R)

  • Restaurant owner must agree.  Patio must have its separate entrance.   Dogs are not permitted on the chairs or tables. Dog clean-up bags will be available. 
  •  https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-263 (Read the bill here)

3.  HB 319 – “Shelter Dog as State Pet”

     SUPPORT

      sponsor – Rep Laura Lanese (R)

  • https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-3194 (Read the bill here)

4.  HB 349 – “Increase Crime of Assaulting a Police or Search & Rescue –      Dog or Horse “

     SUPPORT

     sponsor – Rep Sarah LaTourette (R)

  • Applies same penalities for assaulting or harassing search and rescue dogs and horses as police dogs and horses have                                                                                                                                          
  •  Increases the penalty for assaulting a police dog or horse from a second degree misdemeanor to a fourth degree felony, a third degree felony if the animal suffers serious physical harm, and a second degree felony if the animal dies.
      https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation?   2&pageSize=10&start=1&sort=LegislationNumber&dir=asc&statusCode&legislationNumber=349&legislationTypes=HB&generalAssemblies=132   (Read the bill here)

5. HB 433 – “Veterinary Spay-Neuter”

      SUPPORT

  • sponsors – Reps Tom Brinkman (R) and Brigid Kelly (D)

  • author – DanaMarie Pannella, Esq.

  • This House bill and its companion bill, SB 232 in the Senate, give Ohio veterinarians the OPTION (not mandate) of using 2 CEU’s for FOUR HOURS of FREE SPAY-NEUTER.

  • Status – sponsor testimony – Jan 23, 2018

  • Read Rep Brigid Kelly’s sponsor testimony at the link below for a clear understanding of the bill.

  • http://pawsandthelawblog.com (Read Rep Brigid Kelly’s sponsor testimony here)

6.  SB 195 – “Nuisance, Dangerous, and Vicious Dogs”

     INTERESTED PARTY

  • sponsor – Sen Bill Beagle

  • https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA132-SB-195 (Read the bill here)

7.  SB 232 – “Veterinary Spay-Neuter”

      SUPPORT

  •    sponsor – Sen Cecil Thomas

  •   cosponsors – Sens Charleta Tavares, Joe Schiavoni, Kenny Yuko

  •  author – DanaMarie Pannella, Esq.

  •   status – sponsor testimony – Jan 30, 2018

  • This Senate bill and its companion bill, HB 433, in the House, give Ohio veterinarians the OPTION (not mandate) of using 2 CEU’s for FOUR HOURS of FREE SPAY-NEUTER.

  •  https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-SB-232 (Read the bill here)

PUPPY MILL BALLOT INITIATIVE 

     SUPPORT

  • HSUS initiative
  • aims to increase the standard of care in the kennels of large-scale breeders

  • applies to breeders with eight or more unspayed females and annual sales of more than 15 dogs

CALL your U.S. rep to STOP the consumption of dog and cat meat in the USA!

Dog and cat meat is eaten in the USA?

I strongly encourage you to CALL your U.S. representative. Ask him to VOTE YES on H.R. 1406 “To amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.”

The consumption of dog and cat meat is currently legal in 44 states. 

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ (Go to the link. Type in your zip code to find your U.S. rep.)

Phone numbers for Ohio U.S. Representatives

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

Joyce Beatty (D)  (202) 225-4324 
Marcia Fudge (D)  (216) 522-4900
Marcy Kaptur (D)  (216) 767-5933
Tim Ryan (D)  (330) 630-7311

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/…/house-introduces-bill-to-e…/ (Read more about the bill here.)

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)

Today, I am Ohio

Today, I am Ohio.  I am shocked at what happened in Arizona this year.  I am chilled at what is happening right now in Ohio.

A rotting stink is slowly wafting across the nation.  It’s not just the usual, rising stench of the 10,000 mills with puppies and kittens, endlessly crated, lying in their own waste.  This nasty odor starts in Arizona.  A bill was signed this spring into law by Arizona Governor Ducey.  This new state law, allowing pet stores to sell animals from large-scale breeders (AKA “puppy mills”), trumps and VOIDS ordinances already in effect in the cities of Tempe and Phoenix, and finishes off the proposed ordinance in Tucson.  These three cities had independently legislated that they would only allow shelter and rescue dogs to be sold in pet stores.  The state legislature decided otherwise for them.  

The new law also STOPS other Arizona jurisdictions from passing such ordinances in the future.

Arizona’s initiative is larger than the mill animals being sold in pet stores.  Please note that there are some 18, Arizona state bills that aim to trump local ordinances.  

Additionally, there is a state bill that intends to withhold state funds from jurisdictions that want to pass local ordinances that do not line up with the Arizona legislature’s proposals.

Two, fast-tracked, Ohio bills

This same rotten funk is now hovering over Ohio.  Two bills are being fast-tracked at the end of the legislative session against the will of Ohioans and against “home rule”, embedded in the Ohio Constitution.

Two years ago, Toledo passed an ordinance, banning the sale of mill animals in pet stores. Grove City passed this same ordinance in March.

So, Petland pushed back hard.  First, it sued Grove City Council because it not want the local ordinance. Then, Petland, whose international headquarters is in Chillicothe, approached Senator Bob Peterson (R) of Chillicothe, to sponsor state legislation similar to Arizona’s.

SB 331, sponsored by Senator Peterson (R) moved through committee and passed a full Senate vote in about a week, lightning speed. Amendments are expected to be added this week.  A full House vote is expected to pass SB 331 this week, the last week of the General Assembly.  

These bills are not good for mill animals, where profit stomps puppies, and not good for unsuspecting, pet owners. Additionally, the passage of these initiatives does not bode well for the passage of future, animal welfare legislation in Ohio. These bills must be stopped.

What can you do to stop these bills from being enacted?  Call Speaker Rosenberger’s office (614) 466-3506 today  to RESPECTFULLY oppose SB 331, Dog Sales in Pet Stores!

You might say, “Good morning! This is (your name) from (your city). I am calling to ask Speaker Rosenberger to use his authority as Speaker of the Ohio House to oppose SB 331, Dog Sales in Pet Stores. 

“SB 331 is not good for Ohio animals, families, or communities.  It perpetuates the inhumane treatment of animals by large-scale breeders.  It does not protect unsuspecting families, who buy pet store animals that often have enormous medical and behavior problems.  It stomps ‘home rule’, embedded in the Ohio Constitution.  Ohio jurisdictions know what their own community values are, and are capable of legislating accordingly. 

“Most states across the nation are moving in the OPPOSITE direction. Their pet stores use the successful business model of selling pets from shelters and humane agencies, not large-scale breeders. 

“Thank you for using your leadership to protect Ohio animals, families, and communities by OPPOSING the passage of SB 331!”

 

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!

“Good Samaritan” bill is rounding the bases and headed for home plate!

Sub SB 215, the “Good Samaritan” bill, was hit out of the ball park yesterday by the Ohio House Judiciary Committee vote, 13 – 0.  It was already on base, ready for action! The Senate had unanimously passed it.  It is now rounding the bases and is headed for home plate! 

Sub SB 215 allows individuals to rescue children and pets in danger in unattended vehicles.  This bill can save lives, children’s and pets’.  Individuals that break a window or forcibly enter a parked car to rescue a child or a pet in danger, are immune from civil damages, provided that they take certain, common sense measures. 

These reasonable measures are: (1) Determine the vehicle is locked.  (2) Believe the child or the pet is in danger.  (3) Call 9-1-1, the police, or the fire department before entering the car.   (4)  Place a note on the windshield with contact information, the reason the entry was made, the location of the child or pet, and stating that authorities have been notified.  (5) Remain with the child or pet until authorities arrive.  (6) Use no more force than necessary to break into the vehicle. 

On the other hand, Sub SB 215 is also a far-sighted bill that anticipates that a person who is “recklessness or willful … with regard to the forcible entry of the motor vehicle” will not be exempt from damages. 

There are at least twenty-two states (AZ, CA, DE, FL, IL, ME, MI, MD, MN, NB, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, NV, OK, PA, RI, SD, TN, UT, VT, WA, and WV) with legislation that specifically prohibits leaving an animal or a child in a confined vehicle, in conditions which endanger the life of the animal or child, like lack of adequate ventilation or extreme temperatures.

Cars can be deathtraps for children and pets.  In 2014, there were 32 children nationwide who died horrendous deaths in hot cars, according to the organization Kids and Cars.  Additionally, pets can suffer heatstroke and brain damage in minutes in a hot car or be impaired by frost bite and hypothermia, leading to their deaths, in a frigid car. 

Last year in Cincinnati, where I live, there were two reports of animals dying in vehicles.  One dog died a terrible death, trapped in a sweltering car in Clifton in the summer.  A second dog died overnight in plummeting temperatures, left in the back of an SPCA van.  Additionally, there was an eight-month old infant that died in a hot car in a parking lot in Central Ohio, last summer, while her mother shopped. 

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-215

(Read Sub SB 215 at the link.)

Sub SB 215, “Good Samaritan” bill is now in effect in Ohio! 

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