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!
Get political for Ohio cats, dogs, and people at risk!
First, learn about current, Ohio companion animal bills and the legislators who represent you in the General Assembly. Then, get involved in the legislative process by calling, writing, and visiting important, decision-makers in Columbus.
Your voice and your vote are critical!
Here are the main points of and links to current, Ohio, companion animal bills. Most are necessary, common sense bills that not only aim protect our beloved cats and dogs, but they also lead to protections of our state’s most vulnerable populations, the elderly, children, handicapped individuals, and partners. Moreover, most bills add another prong to deter violence in our communities.
There are one hundred thirty-two state senators and state representatives. They vote on our bills. Each Ohio voter can vote for only one state representative and one state senator (not all 132 legislators), depending on where that voter lives.
Make certain you know who your state rep and your state senator are. You will want to be in contact with those two legislators in support of (or, sometimes, in opposition to) proposed bills.
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/ (Locate your state rep and your state senator here by filling in BOTH boxes. In the first box, type your zip code. In the second box, type your 4-digit extension. If you do not know your 4-digit extension, there is a quick link right above the boxes for you to follow to learn your 4-digit extension. Questions? PM Beth Sheehan.)
BILLS in the 131st GENERAL ASSEMBLY
1. HB 45 – Humane Officer Training SUPPORT
Sponsor: Representative Ron Gerberry
Cosponsors: Representatives Jack Cera, Michael Stinziano, Debbie Phillips, Sean O’Brien, Cheryl Grossman, Michele Lepore-Hagan
Status – Local Government Committee
Summary – “to require an individual to file proof of successful completion of training with the county recorder prior to being appointed as a humane society agent and to require the revocation or suspension of an appointment under certain circumstances”
(NOTE – The humane officer has 20 hours of special training in how to approach and to analyze an animal crime scene. Additionally, HB 45 gets rid of the residency requirement. Right now a humane officer can only work in the county in which he lives. By getting rid of the residency requirement, the same amount of officers can spread out to additional counties to investigate animal cruelty.
Finally, many, Ohio counties, especially rural ones, have no humane officer.)
2. HB 60 – “Goddard’s Law”, felony for animal cruelty OPPOSE because of amendment added on June 9, 2015
(NOTE – Read linked blog for an explanation of possible, unintended consequences of amendment.)
Sponsors: Representatives Bill Patmon and David Hall
Cosponsors: Rep. Nickie J. Antonio, Rep. Tim W. Brown, Rep. John Patterson, Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry, Rep. Marilyn Slaby, Rep. Sarah LaTourette, Rep. Cheryl L. Grossman, Rep. Janine R. Boyd, Rep. Jack Cera, Rep. John Barnes, Jr., Rep. David Leland, Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, Rep. Debbie Phillips, Rep. Michael Sheehy, Rep. Mark J. Romanchuk, Rep. Louis W. Blessing III, Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl, Rep. Marlene Anielski, Rep. Mike Ashford, Rep. Nan A. Baker, Rep. Nicholas J. Celebrezze, Rep. Mike Dovilla, Rep. Denise Driehaus, Rep. Teresa Fedor, Rep. Bob D. Hackett, Rep. Stephen D. Hambley, Rep. Michael Henne, Rep. Stephanie D. Howse, Rep. Greta Johnson, Rep. Terry Johnson, Rep. Michael J. O’Brien, Rep. Sean O’Brien, Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, Rep. Dan Ramos, Rep. John M. Rogers, Rep. Kirk Schuring, Rep. Barbara R. Sears, Rep. Stephen Slesnick, Rep. Kent Smith, Rep. Martin J. Sweeney
Status – HB 60 WITH THE NEW AMENDMENT passed the House.
Summary – “to revise provisions and penalties regarding treatment of companion animals, to revise the definition of “companion animal” in the Offenses Relating to Domestic Animals Law, and to provide a state collaborative effort to assist veterinarians in identifying clients who may use their animals to secure opioids for abuse”
(NOTE – HB 60, “Goddard’s Law”, felony for animal cruelty, is the next step for Ohio after “Nitro’s Law”. I’d like to explain felony for animal abuse in Ohio right now. MOST animal abuse is a misdemeanor in Ohio. There are two, specific times when animal abuse is a felony. First, the SECOND TIME that an offender is convicted of animal cruelty, it is a felony. The first time that offender is convicted it is a misdemeanor. Second, if an animal “in the care of a kennel” is intentionally harmed by the manager, the owner, or the employees, it is a felony. This is “Nitro’s Law”.
Additionally, Ohio judges are mandated to seek community sanctions (no jail) for certain nonviolent offenders because of prison overcrowding. Animal abusers are considered by law to be nonviolent.
So, at sentencing, the animal abusers often end up with no jail time, a fine, AND they get their animal back.)
3. HB 94 – Cruelty, Neglect, and Tethering SUPPORT
Sponsor: Representative John Barnes, Jr.
Cosponsors: Representatives Mike Duffey, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Margaret Ruhl
Status – House Agriculture & Rural Development Committee, 1st hearing
Summary – “to prohibit a person from negligently allowing an animal to be tethered outdoors under specified circumstances”
(NOTE – HB 94 protects animals from being endlessly chained outside in extreme weather. It also gives specification to the type of shelter the outside dogs need. So, for example, it’s not “adequate shelter” to have a dog in a plastic igloo in plummeting temperatures.)
4. HB 121 – Service Dog Awareness Week SUPPORT
Sponsors: Representatives Michael Stinziano and Margaret Ann Ruhl
Cosponsors: Representatives Ron Amstutz, Nicholas Celebrezze, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Debbie Phillips, Jeffery Rezabek, Ronald V. Gerberry, Cheryl Grossman, Bob Hackett, Stephen Slesnick, Martin Sweeney, Sarah LaTourette, Nickie J. Antonio, Nan A. Baker, Andrew Brenner, Thomas E. Brinkman, Tim W. Brown, Jim Buchy, Hearcel F. Craig, Robert R. Cupp, Timothy Derickson, Denise Driehaus, Teresa Fedor, Timothy E. Ginter, Christina Hagan, David Hall, Stephen Hambley, Brian Hill, Greta Johnson, Terry Johnson, Christie Bryant Kuhns, Stephanie Kunze, Al Landis, David Leland, Michael O’Brien, Sean O’Brien, Rick Perales, Dan Ramos, John Rogers, Mark Romanchuk, Tim Schaffer, Barbara Sears, Michael Sheehy, Marilyn Slaby, Kent Smith, Robert Sprague, Emilia Strong Sykes, Ron Young
Summary – “to designate the last week of July as ‘Service Dog Awareness Week’”
Status – HB 121 passed out of House and Senate; needs governor’s signature
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-121 (Read HB 121 here.)
(NOTE – HB 121 highlights the unique skills a service animal provides to his owner so that the owner is able to become more independent and mobile in his own life. It also informs business owners of the rights the service animal and his owner have when they enter their places of business.)
5. HB 187 – First Responders SUPPORT
Sponsor: Representative Timothy Ginter
Cosponsors: Representatives Sarah LaTourette, Blessing III, Schaffer, Vitale, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Margaret Ruhl, Becker, Steve Hambley
Summary – “to authorize a first responder, emergency medical technician-basic, emergency medical technician-intermediate, emergency medical technician-paramedic, or volunteer firefighter to stabilize an injured animal in an emergency”
Status – House and Aging Committee
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-187 (Read HB 187 here.)
(NOTE – HB 187 clearly defines what first responders may do on behalf of our pets in a crisis, such as a fire or a car accident. They may provide oxygen to a stressed animal or a splint to his injured leg before the animal goes to a veterinarian.)
6. HB 198 – Special Prosecutors OPPOSED
(NOTE – Read linked, opponent testimony of Matt Ditchey, representative of eight, Ohio grassroots groups. http://pawsandthelawblog.com/?p=367)
Sponsors : Representatives Steve Hambley and Greta Johnson
Summary – “to abolish the humane society’s authority to employ an attorney to prosecute certain violations of law dealing with animal cruelty or acts involving mistreatment or nonsupport of children”
Status: Referred to House Judiciary committee
Click here to view the full text of the bill as introduced in the House – > https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-198
7. HB 215 – Animal Fighting SUPPORT
Sponsors: Representatives Barbara Sears and Heather Bishoff
Cosponsors: Representatives Cheryl Grossman, Brian Hill, Steven Kraus, Sarah LaTourette, David Leland, Robert McColley, Debbie Phillips, Michael Sheehy, Michael Stinziano
Summary – “to prohibit and establish an increased penalty for knowingly engaging in activities associated with cockfighting, bearbaiting, or pitting an animal against another”
Status – Passed out of House in February of 2016
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-215 (Read HB 215 here.)
8. HB 447, “Killing Police Dogs in the Line of Duty” – SUPPORT
Sponsors: Representatives Schuring and Slesnick
Summary – “to increase penalties for intentionally killing police canines in the line of duty”
Status – State Government Committee
(Read HB 447 here.)
9. SB 151, “The Klonda Richey Act” INTERESTED
Sponsor: Senator Bill Beagle
Cosponsor: Senator Peggy Lehner
Summary – “to define nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dogs, to revise enforcement of that Law, and to establish a notification process regarding complaints of certain violations of that Law”
Status – State and Local Government Committee
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-151 (Read SB 151 here.)
Trust yourself. You can effect meaningful change in your city for outside dogs. With one phone call you can set a plan in motion to curb cruelty, neglect, and tethering where you live.
There are no Ohio, state laws in place right now to humanely address outside dogs, living in desperation and pain year round on chains and tethers. Many concerned people across Ohio are endlessly calling their local dog wardens, their police, and their sheriffs without success. State law simply requires “adequate” food, water, and shelter. “Adequate” generally keeps many dogs outside, in distress, subject to frostbite and hypothermia in winter, heatstroke in summer and a slow, frightening death, alone in their own backyards.
You can change this nasty situation where you live. Here’s a positive, doable plan for you to help outside dogs in your community.
First, organize a dedicated, small group of your friends to advocate for a new, animal ordinance where you live. Meet in a local coffee shop to share ideas and to review the Cleveland animal ordinance, a working model you can use.
Two excellent, common sense points in the Cleveland ordinance are that the dog cannot be tied outside if no one is home, nor can he be outside during a weather advisory.
Second, select a local council member to work with you. This person is crucial to the success of your ordinance. He will be doing most of the work to advance the ordinance. If he is “wishy-washy” about animals, your ordinance will not be successful.
Call your city hall today. Ask for an appointment to meet with the council member regarding improving your local, animal ordinance. Take Cleveland’s ordinance with you as a starting point.
If you feel you cannot organize and meet with your local city council, then share this blog with friends, who might be able to take that initiative for outside dogs.
Please join us today in making “backyard dogs” a footnote for Ohio, history books.
(Find Cleveland’s ordinance here. Cruelty to animals, shelter, tethering, weather are found at 603.09)
603.09 Cruelty to Animals
(a) No person shall:
(1) Torture an animal, deprive one of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate or kill, or impound or confine an animal without supplying it during confinement with a sufficient quantity of good wholesome food and water.
(2) Impound or confine an animal without affording it, during such confinement, access to shelter from heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or excessive direct sunlight if it can reasonably be expected that the animal would otherwise become sick or in some other way suffer. This division (a)(2) does not apply to animals impounded or confined prior to slaughter. For the purpose of this section, “shelter” means a man-made enclosure, windbreak, sunshade, or natural earth’s contour, tree development or vegetation and must provide for the safety and health of the animal in accordance with good animal husbandry standards for each specific animal.
(3) Carry or convey an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner.
(4) Keep animals without wholesome exercise and change of air, nor feed cows on food that produces impure or unwholesome milk.
(5) Detain livestock in railroad cars or compartments longer than twenty-eight (28) hours after they are so placed without supplying them with necessary food, water, and attention, nor permit such stock to be so crowded as to overlie, crush, wound, or kill each other.
(b) All fines collected for violations of this section shall be paid to the society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals, if there is one in the county, township, or municipal corporation where the violation occurred.
(c) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. In addition, the court may order the offender to forfeit the animal or livestock and may provide for its disposition including, but not limited to, the sale of the animal or livestock. If an animal or livestock is forfeited and sold under this division, the proceeds from the sale first shall be applied to pay the expenses incurred with regard to the care of the animal from the time it was taken from the custody of the former owner. The balance of the proceeds from the sale, if any, shall be paid to the former owner of the animal.
(Ord. No. 1572-14. Passed 12-8-14, eff. 12-10-14)
603.091 Neglect of Animals
(a) No owner or keeper of a dog, cat, or other domestic animal shall cause any condition that may lead to permanent injury, death, or harm to such animal, including confining an animal in a motor vehicle under any conditions that may endanger the well being of the domestic animal.
(b) No person shall keep any animal in a place that is unsanitary, including any place where there is an accumulation of feces or other waste, or foul odor, or insect or rodent infestation.
(c) No person who owns or keeps an animal shall fail to provide the animal all of the following needs:
(1) Clean, potable drinking water at all times, and suitable food, of sufficient quality and quantity as to ensure normal growth and the maintenance of normal body weight;
(2) Food and water receptacles that are kept clean and disinfected, and located so as to avoid contamination by feces or other wastes;
(3) Regular exercise sufficient to maintain the animal’s good health;
(4) Necessary veterinary care;
(5) Shelter from the elements, including heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or excessive direct sunlight. If the animal is housed outside, a structure for shelter and protection must be provided that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size, and type of that animal. The structure must be completely enclosed and insulated, having a single entrance/exit secured with a flap or door or similar device. The structure shall be moisture-resistant, wind-resistant, and of suitable size and type to allow the animal to stand, turn about freely, lie in a normal position, and regulate proper body temperature. The structure shall be made of a durable material with a solid, moisture-proof floor and a floor raised at least two (2) inches from the ground. Suitable drainage shall be provided so that water cannot be reasonably expected to gather and stand within ten (10) feet of the structure, and so the animal has access to a dry area at all times. Proper bedding of straw or similar material, that remains dry, must be utilized inside the structure. All structures required by this section shall be subject to all building and zoning regulations.
(d) No person who shelters an animal from the elements by means of an animal shelter, a cage, or a pen shall fail to conform it to the following requirements:
(1) The shelter, cage or pen shall be appropriate to the animal’s size, weight, and other characteristics, with sufficient space to allow the animal to turn about freely and lie in a normal position;
(2) The shelter, case or pen shall provide sufficient shade to allow the animal to escape the direct rays of the sun at all times;
(3) The shelter, cage or pen shall be regularly cleaned and sanitized.
(e) Whoever violates this section is guilty of neglect of animals, a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(Ord. No. 1572-14. Passed 12-8-14, eff. 12-10-14)
603.092 Tethering Animals
(a) No person shall tether an animal in any of the following circumstances:
(1) For more than six (6) hours total in a twenty-four (24) hour period and not more than two (2) consecutive hours with no less than a one (1) hour period between tetherings;
(2) Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.;
(3) If a heat or cold advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or the National Weather Service;
(4) If a severe weather warning has been issued by a local or state authority or the National Weather Service;
(5) If the tether is less than twenty (20) feet in length;
(6) If the tether allows the animal to touch the fence or cross the property line or cross onto public property;
(7) If the tether is attached by means of a pinch-type, prong-type, or choke-type collar or if the collar is unsafe or is not properly fitted;
(8) If the tether may cause injury or entanglement;
(9) If the animal is not provided with its needs as identified in division (b) of Section 603.091;
(10) If the tether is made of a material that is unsuitable for the animal’s size and weight or that causes any unnecessary discomfort to the animal;
(11) If no owner or occupant is present at the premises.
(b) As used in this section, “tether” means a rope, chain, cord, dog run or pulley, or similar restraint for holding an animal in place, allowing a radius in which it can move about.
(c) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on the first offense, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on the second offense, and a misdemeanor of the first degree on the third or any subsequent offense. Notwithstanding the foregoing penalties, if an animal becomes sick or injured as a result of a violation of this section, then whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(Ord. No. 12-12. Passed 5-21-12, eff. 5-25-12)
Questions? PM Beth Sheehan