Tag Archives: finance

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!”

 

Testimony in front of the Ohio House Finance Agriculture Subcommittee

Testimony before the Ohio House Finance  Agriculture Subcommittee

March 11, 2015

Good morning, Chair Thompson, Ranking Member O’Brien, Representative Burkley, Representative Cera,  and Representative Hall,

I am Beth Sheehan.  I live in Cincinnati.  I have come to reinforce the testimony of Ms. Theresa Stir, executive director of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board (OVMLB), who asked you for additional funds for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.  The OVMLB needs these funds in order to strengthen its veterinary oversight program. I am specifically asking for an additional $100,000. 

Right now about half of the funds from that licensure passes through the Veterinary Board and into a General Fund, not to be touched by the Veterinary Board. Please release the Veterinary Board’s own funds for use in animal hospital inspections.

Three, primary reasons for having increased animal hospital inspections are community disease control, illegal drugs control, and consumer protection.   The Center for Disease Control states that 75% of emerging infectious, human diseases come from animals.  These are zoonotic diseases that pass between animal and human species.  So, the possibility of disease spread in an unhygienic, animal hospital not only negatively impacts the animals’ health, but also threatens the health of the workers and pet owners.  Public health is at stake here.

Veterinarians are licensed to prescribe and have regular access to drugs.  Yet, the drugs housed and used in animal hospitals go largely unchecked.  The black hole in veterinary oversight leaves a lot of room for bad actors, flying low under the radar, to take advantage.  Right now in Ohio there is a background check just once during the career of a veterinarian, when he first applies for his license.  In Ohio, that fledgling veterinarian and his animal hospital can both go unchecked and unnoticed for the rest of his career until he retires. 

There have been several cases, most notably Alvin Burger of Canton, Ohio and Brandi Tomko of Summit County, Ohio,  who were both found guilty of practicing veterinary medicine without a license in their county courts.  Where were these individuals getting their veterinary drugs to use in their illegal practice?

Additionally, Lee Ann Givan, DVM, was severely censored by the Tennessee Veterinary Board for a host of behaviors, including illegal use of drugs.  What did Dr. Givan do then?  She promptly moved to Ohio, where she was issued a license.  She was later sanctioned by the OVMLB for getting drugs for her two dogs, but using them herself.

Recently, Michael Smith, DVM, of Zanesville, Ohio, his son, Eryn R. Smith, and Travis E. Ryan,  “were indicted following a more than 2-year, multiagency investigation into a prescription drug trafficking ring.”   Hopefully, the increased inspections of animal hospitals would be another prong to successfully work against prescription drug trafficking rings in Ohio.

Third, the mission statement of the OVMLB is “consumer protection”.  Right now Ohio veterinarians are “on the honor system”.  Ohio consumers remain unprotected if the conditions and operations of their animal hospitals are unknown and unmonitored by the state agency that issues the licenses.  In fact, it is only in recent months that the number of animal hospitals and their locations became known by the OVMLB. 

Finally, I appreciate the opportunity to speak with the Ohio House Finance subcommittee today about the need for the Ohio Veterinary Board to have access to an additional $100,000 of its own money.  These funds will be used to increase animal hospital inspections, aimed at protecting public health, monitoring illegal use of drugs, and protecting the consumer.