Tag Archives: cross-reporting

Proponent Testimony for HB 523, Cross-reporting of Child Abuse & Animal Cruelty

House Community and Family Advancement Committee

HB 523, Cross-reporting

Proponent Testimony by Beth Sheehan

March 14, 2018

Good afternoon, Chair Ginter, Vice Chair LaTourette, Ranking Minority Member Boyd and distinguished members of the House Community and Family Advancement Committee, I am Beth Sheehan from Hamilton County, representing an Ohio grassroots group, Paws and the Law, advocating for the swift, diligent passage of HB 523.

HB 523, Cross-reporting, offers relief to Ohio families, long suffering under the burden of unrestrained violence. It adds another layer of defense against the nasty web of abuse at work in the shadows of many, Ohio homes.

Many states (CA, CO, CT, DC, IL, LA, ME, MS, NB, OR, TN, VA, WV) already recognize the powerful connections between child abuse and animal cruelty with mandatory or voluntary cross-reporting legislation. Agencies protecting animals shall or may report their suspicions of child abuse to organizations protecting children, and vice versa.

Right now, Ohio cross-reporting laws are puny. They require humane society officials (but neither dog wardens nor animal control officers) to report suspected child abuse.

HB 523 puts more eyes on the alert for hidden violence with mandatory cross-reporting by veterinarians, veterinary technicians, dog wardens, deputy dog wardens, animal control officers, employees of children’s services, county departments of job and family services, licensed counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists.

With claims made in good faith the reporting individuals would be immune from civil and criminal liability.

Established research shows the powerful connections among interpersonal violence and animal abuse. In one study of homes with known physical abuse of children, animal abuse also occurred in 88% of those families. (DeViney, Dickert, & Lockwood, 1983)

71% of women with pets in homes of domestic violence reported their partners had threatened, harmed, or killed their companion animals. 32% of those mothers mothers reported that their children had also hurt or killed their pets. (Ascione, 1998)

Animal cruelty is a warning sign that others too may be at risk. Violent offenders in maximum security are significantly more likely than nonviolent offenders to have committed animal cruelty as children. (Merz-Perez, Heide, and Silverman, 2001)

A current, Ohio case clearly illustrates the nasty web of child abuse and animal cruelty. Middletown police and Butler County Children Services were called to check on a home. After three dead dogs and one decapitated dog’s head were found in the back yard, the mother was charged with three counts of felony animal cruelty.

A few days before her arrest, elementary school officials, concerned about the woman’s three children, notified the police.

Police report said the residence had no edible food and the house was in “very much disarray and unlivable”.

HB 523, Cross-reporting, offers early detection, and hopefully, prevention of rampant violence, unleashed against the most vulnerable among us, children and pets.

I strongly urge you to VOTE YES on HB 523, Cross-reporting of Child Abuse and Animal Cruelty, and to send this bill to the House floor for a vote.

Children pay a high price for witnessing or experiencing violence. Sometimes they pay their entire lives.

Bills and Ballot Initiative in the 132nd Ohio General Assembly


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


  • 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”, allows dogs on outdoor patios of restaurants


      sponsor – Rep Laura Lanese (R)

  •  status – moves to full House for vote

  • 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”


      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 “


     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”


  • 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 – has had two hearings in Economic Development, Labor, and Commerce Committee

    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)

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary… (Read the bill here)

    6.  HB 506, “High Volume Breeders” (AKA ‘puppy mills’) 


    sponsor – Rep Brian Hill (R)

    cosponsors – Reps Andy Thompson (R), Brian Smith (R), John Patterson (D), Kirk Schuring (R), Bill Seitz (R), Koehler, Thomas Patton (R), Dick Stein (R), Thomas West (D),  Martin Sweeney (D), Darrell Kick (R), Scott Ryan (R), James Hoops (R)

    This bill is introduced in response to the STOP PUPPY MILLS OHIO (SPMO) ballot initiative.

    HB 506 is not as good for animals from high volume breeders (AKA “puppy mills”) as Stop Puppy Mills Ohio (SPMO) is.  Both HB 506 & SPMO ban stacking of cages & require daily cleaning of cages.

    The House committee has made improvements on the bill, such as having a licensed veterinarian provide medical care for the animals.

    status – moves to the full House for a vote


    7.  HB 523 – “Cross-reporting of Animal Abuse and Child Abuse”


    •  sponsors – Representatives Laura Lanese (R), Rick Perales (R)
    •  This bill requires cross-reporting of child abuse and animal cruelty 
    •  status – House Community and Family Advancement – 2nd hearing – March 14, 2018

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-523  (Read the bill here)

    http://pawsandthelawblog.com/?p=1419 (Read my proponent testimony here)


    8.  HB 539 – Labrador Retriever as State Dog


    sponsor – Representative Jeff Rezabek

    status – 

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-539  (Read HB 539 here)

    9.  HB 552 – Euthanasia and Chemical Capture of Animals


    sponsor- Representative LaTourette

    status – not yet assigned to committee

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-552  (Read HB 552 here)

     10.  HB 560 – Prohibit pet food from containing euthanized animal remains


     sponsor – Laura Lanese (R)

    author – DanaMarie Pannella, Esq.

    status – not yet assigned to committee


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


  • sponsor – Sen Bill Beagle (R)

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

12.  SB 232 – “Veterinary Spay-Neuter”


  • sponsor – Sen Cecil Thomas (D)

  • cosponsors – Senators Charleta Tavares (D),  Joe Schiavoni (D), Kenny Yuko (D)

  • author – DanaMarie Pannella, Esq.

  • status – has had two hearings in the Agriculture Committee

  • 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)



  • HSUS ballot initiative
  • aims to change the Ohio Constitution to standardize care in the kennels of large-scale breeders (AKA “puppy mills”)

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