Tag Archives: children

“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! 

Outlaw Bestiality in Ohio

Bestiality Must Be Outlawed

Bestiality makes us very uncomfortable.  It is too hard to talk about, even with our families.  It involves the unspeakable. It is one of our last taboos, boiling beneath the surface of our well-ordered communities. 

But it is an outlier of deviant behavior so extreme that it must be banned.  It is a marker of a seriously disturbed mind.  It is clear sign of a combustible danger, hidden from our immediate view. 

Animals are the perfect victims.  They are easy to restrain and control … and they can never tell.  Animal casualties are often reported first by animal control or neighbors. A dog’s whimpering or a cat’s frenzy may finally attract the attention of a nearby-resident. 

But there may be less visible victims, tyrannized, in a nearby house of suffering.  The children, the partners, the elderly, the handicapped – they may also be ensnared in an endless web of fear and pain.

Children and animals often appear together as easy victims of prey.  For example, when law enforcement agencies confiscate the computers of trolls of child pornography, there is generally a trove of bestiality photos and videos also stored on those, same devices.  

The FBI recognizes the importance of sexual animal abuse as an strong indicator of human crimes.  In January of 2016, the FBI began, for the first time, to require the 18,000, local and state, law enforcement agencies to report animal cruelty in a stand-alone category, “crimes against society”.

Bestiality is a warped, vile act.  It can be a powerful precursor of sexual homicide predators. It is also practiced by violent criminals, sex offenders, and the sexually abused.

Bestiality has health risks too.  Animals can carry and transmit human, sexual diseases, bacterial or parasitic infections, as well as cancer-causing viruses. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

SB 195, “Bestiality”, has a hearing for all testimony on November 30, 2016.  Please call the leadership of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee in support of SB 195.

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

Sen Jim Hughes, vice-chair  (614) 466-5981   hughes@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Cecil Thomas, ranking minority member (614) 466-5980  thomas@ohiosenate.gov

Sample script follows.  Please tweak it a bit. Your original words make a larger impact in Columbus.  Also, calls are count for more because they require an aide to fully listen.  E-mails can be quickly scanned. – However, if you only have time for e-mails, thank you for your work! 

“Good morning, Chair Eklund.  This is (your name) from (your city).  I strongly encourage you to move SB 195, “Bestiality”, to a vote and then VOTE YES.  Bestiality remains legal in about a dozen states, including Ohio.  Bestiality is a twisted, violent act, well connected to other predatory acts and highly correlated to pedophilia.  It is well documented that the seized computers of pedophillacs generally contain both child sexual victims and animal sexual victims.

“Bestiality must be outlawed and then prosecuted to its fullest.  The successful prosecution of bestiality will save a lifetime of heartache and expenses for those children and their families who also fall prey to the same sinister individuals. 

“Again, I encourage you to bring SB 195, “Bestiailty”, to a vote and then to VOTE YES to protect our communities, our children, and our animals from sexual violence.” 

Please call Columbus to oppose HB 278, “County Humane Societies”

HB 278 Weakens the Effective Prosecution of Ohio Animal Cruelty

Opposition testimony is being heard in Columbus for HB 278, “Special Prosecutors”, on Tuesday, February 23, 2016.  I strongly encourage you to write to the leadership of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee in opposition to this bill.

You may use any part of my blog that you like.  It is always better if you vary it so that all of the letters do not sound the same.

Links to both the bill and its analysis follow the blog.

House Government Accountability and Oversight

Rep Tim W. Brown, chair   rep03@ohiohouse.gov   (614) 466-8104

Rep Louis W. Blessing, vice chair  rep29@ohiohouse.gov  (614) 466-9091

Rep Kathleen Clyde, ranking minority member rep75@ohiohouse.gov  (614) 466-2004

HB 278 Has Shut its Eyes to Rampant Violence

I oppose the passage of HB 278, “Special Prosecutors”, sponsored by Representative Stephen Hambley.  Animal cruelty, a gateway act to human violence, must be prosecuted with great vigor in order to effectively safeguard our communities.

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 county humane society is in the best position right now to properly choose between the special prosecutor and the county prosecutor.  HB 278 takes away that choice.

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? 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.

Also, each day dogs and cats are impounded, 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.

Moreover, HB 278 allows removal of humane agents by the Probate Court without cause and removes the broad reporting requirement for child abuse cases.

HB 278 does have worthy attributes.  It removes the residency requirement for humane agents.  Thus, Ohio humane agents would be able to work outside of the county in which they reside.  In addition, the county would raise the monthly pay for humane agents from $25 to $150.

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.

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

 

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-278

 Read the bill in its entirety at the link above.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/download?key=4090&format=pdf

Read the analysis of HB 278 at the link above.

 

Companion Animal Bills in the 131st General Assembly

                Get political for Ohio cats, dogs, and people at risk!

                  Follow Paws and the Law to be an informed advocate.

                     Thank you for doing what you can, where you are, for our beloved cats and dogs.

Here are the main points of and links to current, Ohio, companion animal bills. Most are necessary bills that not only aim to protect our beloved cats and dogs, but they also will safeguard our state’s most vulnerable populations, elderly, children, handicapped, and partners.

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, based on where he lives.

Make certain you know who your state rep and state senator are. You will want to be in contact with those two legislators in support of or opposed to these bills.

                               Find your state representative and state senator

Your two most important state legislators are your own state rep and state senator. (Senators Brown and Portman are US congressional senators.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/ (Locate your state rep and your state senator here by typing in your zip code PLUS four digit extension in the two boxes next to “Find my legislators”. Questions? PM Beth Sheehan)

                                          Bills in the 131st General Assembly

1. HB 45, Humane Officer Training – SUPPORT

Introduced – February 10, 2015

Assigned to Local Government Committee – February 11, 2015

Sponsor:

Cosponsors: Representatives Jack Cera,  Michael Stinziano,  Debbie Phillips,  Sean O’Brien,  Cheryl Grossman,  Michele Lepore-Hagan

(HB 45 IS IMPORTANT.  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 right now.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-45 (Read HB 45 here.)

2.  HB 60, ‘Goddard’s Law’ – enacted into Ohio law

 Sponsors: Representatives Bill Patmon and Dave Hall

Cosponsors: Representatives Nickie J. Antonio,  John Barnes, Jr.,  Louis W. Blessing III,  Janine R. Boyd,  Tim W. Brown,  Jack Cera,  Cheryl L. Grossman, Sarah LaTourette, David Leland, Michele Lepore-Hagan,  John Patterson, Debbie Phillips, Mark J. Romanchuk,  Michael Sheehy, Marilyn Slaby, Margaret Ann Ruhl, Marlene Anielski, Mike Ashford, Nan A. Baker, Nicholas J. Celebrezze, Mike Dovilla, Denise Driehaus, Teresa Fedor, Bob D. Hackett, Stephen D. Hambley, Michael Henne, Stephanie D. Howse, Greta Johnson, Terry Johnson, Michael J. O’Brien, Sean O’Brien, Dorothy Pelanda, Dan Ramos, John M. Rogers, Kirk Schuring, Barbara Sears, Stephen Slesnick, Kent Smith, Martin J. Sweeney

(HB 60 IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM was important.   “Goddard’s Law”, felony for animal cruelty, is the next step for Ohio after “Nitro’s Law”. Let’s look at 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, the animal abusers often end up with no jail time, a fine, AND they get their animal back.

This bill, when it was in the 130th General Assembly, was very much stronger.   HB 60 WITH THE AMENDMENT seriously dilutes the bill and does not adequately protect our cats and dogs.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-60

(Read HB 60 here.)

3.  HB 94, Cruelty, Neglect, and Tethering  – SUPPORT

Introduced – March 2, 2015

Assigned – March 4, 2015 to Agriculture and Rural Development

Sponsor: Representative  John Barnes Jr.

Cosponsors: Representatives Mike Duffey, Michele Lepore-Hagan, and Margaret Ann Ruhl

(HB 94 IS IMPORTANT.  It aims to curb animal cruelty, neglect, and endless tethering.  Owners are neither permitted to tether their animals outside when there are weather advisories nor when the owner is not home.

There is specification for appropriate shelter.  So, the plastic igloo at twenty degrees below zero and the deck twenty feet away from the dog in ninety-five degrees is not “adequate shelter”. )

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-94

(Read HB 94 here.)

4.  HB 121, Service Dog Awareness Week – Support

Introduced – March 12, 2015

Passed House – 93 – 0 – May 13, 2015; Passed Senate – 33 – 0

HB 121 is on its way to the governor’s desk.

Sponsors: Representatives Michael Stinziano and Margaret Ann Ruhl

Cosponsors: Representatives Ron Amstutz, Nicholas J. Celebrezze, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Debbie Phillips, Jeffery S. Rezabek, Cheryl L. Grossman, Bob D. Hackett, Stephen Slesnick, Martin J. Sweeney, Sarah LaTourette, Nickie J. Antonio, Nan A. Baker, Andrew Brenner, Thomas E. Brinkman, Jr., 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 D. Hambley, Brian Hill, Greta Johnson, Terry Johnson, Christie Bryant Kuhns, Stephanie Kunze, Al Landis, David Leland, Michael J. O’Brien, Sean O’Brien, Rick Perales, Dan Ramos, John M. Rogers, Mark J. Romanchuk, Tim Schaffer, Barbara R. Sears, Michael Sheehy, Marilyn Slaby, Kent Smith, Robert Sprague, Emilia Strong Sykes, Ron Young, Senators  Bill Beagle, Charleta B. Tavares, Edna Brown

(HB 121 IS IMPORTANT because it educates the public about the unique skills that a service animal has that allow his owner to be more independent in his life.  It also informs business owners of the rights the service animal owner and service animal have while in the store, movie, or restaurant.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-121

(Read HB 121 here.)

5.  HB 187, First Responders May Stabilize Pets in Emergencies – goes into effect September 12, 2016

Sponsor: Representative Timothy Ginter

Cosponsors: Representatives LaTourette, Blessing III, Schaffer, Vitale, Michelle Lepore-Hagan, Margaret Ruhl, Becker, Hambley

(HB 187 IS IMPORTANT – It clearly defines what first responders may do on behalf of our pets if they are in a crisis, like a fire or a car accident. They can provide oxygen with a ventilator or mouth to snout to a stressed animal or a splint to his injured leg before the animal goes to a veterinarian.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-187

(Read HB 187 here.)

6.  HB 198, Special Prosecutors Appointed by Humane Societies – OPPOSE

Introduced – May 11, 2015

Assigned to Judiciary Committee – May 19, 2015

Sponsor: Representatives Stephen Hambley and Greta Johnson

Cosponsors: Representatives Heather Bishoff, Terry Boose, Bob D. Hackett, Brian Hill, Doug Green, Michael J. O’Brien

(IT IS IMPORTANT TO OPPOSE HB 198 because it limits the choices a humane society has in prosecuting animal cruelty.  Additionally, it may have encourage humane societies to prosecute animal abuse crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-198

(Read HB 198 here.)

7.  HB 267,  “Trooper’s Bill” – SUPPORT

Sponsor: Representative Margaret Ruhl

Cosponsors: Representatives Andrew Brenner, Teresa Fedor, Cheryl Grossman, Sarah LaTourette, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Andy Thompson

(This bill aims to establish a deer sanctuary license to allow a licensee to raise deer, to establish requirements governing such a license, to require the Chief of the Division of Wildlife to issue a wild animal permit to allow a permit holder to rehabilitate deer, to establish procedures that certain law enforcement officers must follow when responding to accidents involving injured or deceased deer, and to require training for those officers regarding humane procedures for euthanizing injured deer.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-267

(Read HB 267 here.)

8.  HB 447, “Killing Police Dogs in the Line of Duty”  –  SUPPORT

Sponsors: Representatives Schuring and Slesnick

Cosponsors:

Summary – “to increase penalties for intentionally killing police canines in the line of duty”

Status – State Government Committee

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-447

(Read HB 447 here.)

9.  SB 151, “The Klonda Richey Act” – INTERESTED

SPONSOR: Senator Bill Beagle

Cosponsor: Senator Peggy Lehner

Introduced – April 27, 2015

Assigned to Agriculture Committee – April 29, 2015; had hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 26, 2016

(This bill aims to give clarity to “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.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-151

(Read SB 151 here.)

10.  SB 195 – Prohibiting Sexual Contact with Animals – SUPPORT

Introduced – July 16, 2015

Assigned to Criminal Justice Committee – September 17, 2015

Sponsors: Senators Jim Hughes and Jay Hottinger

(SB 195 IS IMPORTANT because having sexual contact with an animal is legal in Ohio.  This bill makes it a misdemeanor to have sexual contact with an animal.  It allows for the seizure and impoundment of the animal that is violated.  Also, it authorizes the court to require an offender to undergo psychological evaluation or counseling.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-195

(Read SB 195 here.)

11.   SB 215 – Good Samaritan – goes into effect on August 31, 2016

 Sponsors: Senators Jim Hughes and Frank LaRose

Cosponsors: Senators Kevin Bacon and Joe Uecker

(SB 215 is an important bill because it allows individuals to rescue pets and children in danger in unattended vehicles with immunity from civil liability.)

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

(Read SB 215 here.)

12.   SB 271 – Police Buys Dog or Horse – SUPPORT

Introduced

Assigned

Sponsor: Senator Lou Gentile

Cosponsors: Senators Kenny Yuko, Shannon Jones, Joe Schiavoni, Capri S. Cafaro, Michael Skindell, Charleta B. Tavares, Cecil Thomas, Frank LaRose

(SB 271 is an important bill that aims to allow a police officer to buy a his police dog or horse at fair market value at retirement.)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-271

(Read SB 271 here.)

13. SB 286 – Killing a Police Dog or Horse – SUPPORT

Introduced – February 29, 2016

Assigned to Senate Criminal Justice Committee – April 12, 2016

Sponsor: Senator Jim Hughes

(SB 286 is important because it increases penalty for assaulting a police dog or horse.  It requires, if the dog or horse is killed, a mandatory prison term and a mandatory fine to be paid to the law enforcement agency served by the dog or horse.)

HB 45, Humane Officer Training, “adds teeth” to combat violence!

Ohio, let’s turn back the violence in our towns and cities!  We’ll start by working to enact legislation “with sharp teeth” to protect our beloved, companion animals and to safeguard our wonderful neighborhoods.  Ohio voters, seeking safer communities, understand HB 45, Humane Officer Training, is a critical part of stemming the violence.

Animal cruelty and interpersonal violence are powerfully connected. Animal abuse is, first and foremost, an act of violence.  The perpetrator causes suffering, injury, and possible death to the animal.  The tormentor can also be acting out violence in ways that are less evident to the casual eye.   There may be other vulnerable victims (mentally handicapped, elderly, children, spouses) living nearby in danger and in fear.

HB 45 has two, main components.  First, it mandates the filing with the county recorder of twenty hours of successful training for humane officers.  The officers are schooled in the investigation and prosecution of cruelty and neglect to animals.   They are also educated about “domestic violence, violence-related incidents, protection orders, consent agreements, crisis intervention, missing children, child abuse, and neglect”.   So, while investigating the animal abuse, their trained eyes are scanning for additional at risk victims.

As first responders to an animal crime scene, the humane officers collect evidence and make assessments that form the foundation upon which a later animal cruelty trial is based. If the humane officers  are improperly trained and neither know what to look for nor know what to do during that initial phase of an animal abuse case, the case will be lost from the first day.  The animal abuser will go free.  The animal will be returned to the abuser.

Second, HB 45 eliminates the residency requirement.  Current law says that the humane officer can work only in the county in which he resides.  By getting rid of the residency requirement, more Ohio counties will be served by the same amount of animal cruelty investigators.

Additionally, there are many, Ohio counties today without even one humane officer.  So, when animal cruelty cases arise, there are no humane officers to respond.

Finally, each county pays the humane officer merely $25 each month.  Liz Raab is working on an amendment to HB 57 that would raise that salary. 

Let’s look at one, famous, Ohio animal cruelty case.  Liz Raab, and her husband, Tom Siesto, left their beloved three-year old, Rottweiler, Nitro, with food, toys, full medical coverage, and the anticipation of additional training for Nitro, in a Youngstown kennel, while they kept vigil at the hospital bed of Liz’s father.

When they came to pick up Nitro, they were stunned by the nightmarish scene and horrific news.  Nitro was in a freezer waiting for them.  The boarding kennel had  been a hell hole, with no food or water for the animals lodged there.  Those nineteen dogs had been left in a house of death.  Nitro and six other animals had died slow, painful deaths.   An additional twelve animals were in deplorable physical condition, severely underweight, dehydrated, and near starvation.  Liz and Tom’s much-loved family pet went from a healthy 105 pounds when they left him at the kennel to 50 pounds at his death weeks later.

This cruelty case of nineteen, emaciated and dead dogs, was bungled from its beginning.  When the humane officers entered the crime scene, they neither had a search warrant, nor were both humane officers already sworn into office. Therefore, the evidence that they collected that day could not be used in court.

Fifteen charges, out of nineteen possible charges, were dropped because the officers came without a search warrant.  Only four charges, relating to the four dogs that could be seen from a neighbor’s yard, remained.

Ohio’s puny animal laws revealed themselves at the kennel owner’s, criminal trial.  For severe, animal cruelty, the agonizing deaths and near deaths of nineteen family pets, the kennel owner was subject to a misdemeanor charge with four counts of animal cruelty and four months in jail. 

The owner then declared bankruptcy, which allowed him to avoid paying for the animals in the lawsuit.

Interpersonal violence and animal cruelty are tightly interwoven, living in the shadows of our neighborhoods.  If Ohio is to effectively combat violence, it must prosecute animal cruelty with the same fervor as it acts against interpersonal violence.  Step one is to have properly trained, humane officers who rigorously comply with the law. 

This significant bill, Humane Officer Training, has died in previous Ohio General Assemblies.  It appears headed down that same path today.  HB 45 needs our support. 

Join Ohio voters across the state in support of HB 45, Humane Officer Training, by calling or writing important, decision makers today.  Start by contacting Senator Keith Faber, president of the Ohio Senate. Then contact the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  Their contact information is provided below.

Each of your calls is noted by the legislators and helps to move HB 45, Humane Officer Training, forward.

Ohio, let’s keep the momentum going for HB 45!

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-45  (Read the bill here.)