Tag Archives: humane society

Why HB 433, Veterinary Spay-Neuter Bill, is Good News for Ohio Pets & Vets

HB 433, Veterinarian Continuing Ed for Neutering Services, is a home run for Ohio!

  • gives veterinarians the OPTION (not mandate) of performing up to FOUR HOURS of FREE SPAY-NEUTER SURGERIES to receive up to two continuing ed units needed for license renewal

  • 14 Ohio, distinguished, licensing boards currently allow continuing ed credit for pro bono work of their licensees: 

  • The Supreme Court of Ohio that licenses attorneys 

  • The State Medical Board of Ohio

  • The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy

  • The Ohio State Dental Board

  • The Ohio Board of Nursing 

  • The Ohio Vision Professionals Board 

  • The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy

  • The Ohio Board of Psychology

  • The Ohio State Chiropractic Board

  • The Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board

  • The Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board

  • The Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board 

  • Ohio Emergency Medical Services

  • The Speech and Hearing Professionals Board

  • no cost

  • is voluntary

  • no burdensome regulations

  • saves animal lives

  • saves taxpayer money, especially in rural counties with limited funds

  • shelter medicine is unique and only briefly covered in veterinary school; thus, additional learning opportunity for veterinarians 

  • vets may learn about ethnic, indigent, and underserved populations, not normally encountered in their work-a-day world

  • provides critical service to neighborhoods with outside, community cats or with low-income families

  • does not take revenue from other veterinary practices

  • broad, grassroots coalition of dog and cat advocates, who support HB 433: 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

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!

Can you give 10 minutes a week to curb animal cruelty & neglect?

Newark, Ohio City Council voted to ban BDL!

When Newark passes an ordinance to protect its dogs and to safeguard its community, dogs and their families across the nation also gain.  Awareness grows.  Momentum increases.

Do you have 10 minutes each week to curb animal cruelty and neglect?   Please  join Paws and the Law’s humane community.  We work together across Ohio to advance state and local initiatives.   Your part is easy.  You can even work from the comfort of your home.  

Paws and the Law closely follows legislative initiatives for companion animals. When a critical point, like a hearing or a vote is about to happen, you will receive contact information for important decision makers and a sample script.  You, of course, can use your own narrative.   Can you give 10 – 15 minutes a week, working from home, to work against animal cruelty?

If so, PM Beth Sheehan with your e-mail address today.

A list of the current, companion animal bills in the Ohio General Assembly follows.  Most of our bills languish and die in the Ohio Senate.  The 131st General Assembly ends on December 31, 2016.  All bill not passed then, will have to be reintroduced in the next GA.

But if we all do whatever we can, where we are, together we will be an awesome force for good for our beloved cats and dogs.

BILLS in the 131st GENERAL ASSEMBLY

1.  HB 45 – Humane Officer Training          SUPPORT

Sponsor: 

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”

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

(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 – ENACTED

(NOTE – Read linked blog for an explanation of possible, unintended consequences of amendment.   http://pawsandthelawblog.com/?p=373 )

Sponsors: Representatives Bill Patmon  and David Hall

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

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”

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

(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.)

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

 4.  HB 121 – Service Dog Awareness Week – ENACTED

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’”

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 May Give First Aid to Pets  – ENACTED

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”

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

Cosponsors:

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.  House Bill No. 278 – County Humane Societies – OPPOSE

Sponsor: Representative Steve Hambley 

Summary – “to require approval by the board of county commissioners, instead of the probate judge, of appointments of agents by county humane societies outside a municipal corporation, to specify that a county humane society is a political subdivision, to make its directors, agents, officers, and employees subject to the Ethics Law, and to increase the salaries paid to the agents.”

Status: Referred to Government Accountability and Oversight Committee 

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…

(Read HB 278 here.)

9.  House Bill No. 447 – Killing Police Animal 

Sponsors: Representatives Kirk Schuring and Stephen Slesnick 

Summary – to prohibit a person from intentionally killing a police dog or horse in the line of duty.

Status: Referred to State Government committee

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…

(Read HB 447 here.)

10.  House Bill 450 – Officer May Purchase His Police Animal 

Sponsors: Representatives Andy Thompson and Dave Hall 

Summary – to authorize a law enforcement officer to purchase a police dog or horse for one dollar when the officer retires in good standing from a law enforcement agency 

Status: Referred to State Government Committee

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…  

(Read HB 450 here.)

11.  HB 573 – Dogs Sold in Pet Stores –  OPPOSE

12.  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.)

13. Senate Bill No. 195 – Bestiality – INTERESTED

Sponsors: Senators Jim Hughes and Sen. Jay Hottinger 
Cosponsors: Senators Kenny Yuko, Frank LaRose, Sandra R. Williams

Summary – “to prohibit a person from engaging in sexual conduct with an animal and related acts, to provide for the seizure and impoundment of an animal that is the subject of a violation, and to authorize a sentencing court to require an offender to undergo psychological evaluation or counseling.”

Status: Referred to Criminal Justice committee

 https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…

(Read SB 195 here.)

14.  SB 215 –  “Good Samaritan” –  ENACTED

Sponsors: Senators Jim Hughes and Frank LaRose

Cosponsors: Senators  Joe Uecker, Kevin Bacon, Bill Beagle, Dave Burke, Bill Coley, Randy Gardner, Cliff Hite, Jay Hottinger, Shannon Jones, Kris Jordan, Peggy Lehner, Gayle Mannning, Larry Obhof, Tom Patton, Tom Sawyer,  Joe Schiavoni, Charleta B. Tavares, Cecil Thomas, Kenny Yuko 

Summary – to allow individuals to rescue a pet or a child in danger in an unattended vehicle without liability

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-votes?id=GA131-SB-215  (Read SB 215 here.)

15. Senate Bill 271 – Purchase Police Animal – INTERESTED

Sponsor: Sen. Lou Gentile 

Summary – “to authorize a law enforcement officer to purchase a police dog or horse for fair market value when the officer retires in good standing from a law enforcement agency and certain conditions are met.”

Status: Referred to Agriculture Committee
 
 https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…

17. Senate Bill 286 – Killing Police Animal – INTERESTED

Sponsor: Sen. Jim Hughes 

Summary – “to modify the penalty for assaulting a police dog or horse to require, 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.”

Status: Passed out of House committee 

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legisl…/legislation-status…

18.  SB 331 – Dogs Sold in Pet Stores –  OPPOSE

Status: Voted out of Senate

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.

 

Amendment to “Goddard’s Law” may cause dire, unintended consequences

I stand firmly opposed to the passage of HB 60, “Goddard’s Law”, because of its recently introduced amendment. 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 differing directions at once.   HB 60, as introduced, aims to protect both companion animals and Ohio communities with a felony provision for animal cruelty. 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.

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, 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 of felony prosecution of animal cruelty cases. This unintended effect alone for me is worth stopping the bill.

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 to accompany it? 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.

Each day dogs and cats are impounded in the humane society, 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.

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.

I do not seek a change of heart of those Ohio legislators without compassion for suffering animals.

I do, however, remind those legislators of their primary responsibility to their electorate – to safeguard, Ohio communities against the epidemic violence devastating our communities.

The powerful connections among interpersonal violence, animal cruelty, and some, mental illness are well researched. The recognition of the dangerous effect that nasty web has on our most vulnerable populations has catapulted important legislative change forward across this nation.

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

Oppose HB 198, “Special Prosecutors”

 

House Bill 198 – Opposition Testimony of

Matt Ditchey, Esq., Representative

Angels for Animals, Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio,  Joseph’s Legacy, Justice for Herbie, Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, Nitro Foundation / Nitro’s Ohio Army, Ohio Voters for Companion Animals, Inc., and Paws and the Law

June 16, 2015 – House Judiciary Committee

Good morning Chairman Butler and Members of the House Judiciary Committee.

My name is Matt Ditchey, Esq. and I currently live in Green Township, Ohio (Mahoning County). I am submitting written testimony on behalf of the following eight grassroots animal welfare organizations: Angels for Animals, Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio, Joseph’s Legacy, Justice for Herbie, Nitro Foundation/Nitro’s Ohio Army, Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, Ohio Voters for Companion Animals, Inc. and Paws and the Law as opposed party for Ohio House Bill 198. 

Representing over 77,000 constituents across 81 Ohio counties, our eight Ohio-citizen driven, community based organizations are the driving force behind legislative efforts to address issues impacting the health and safety of companion animals as defined under Ohio Revised Code 959. Our supporters include a diverse section of voters and taxpayers from across the state, including but not limited to, a broad range of dog enthusiasts, veterinarians, breeders, animal care and welfare organizations, animal control representatives, appointed humane agents, judges, attorneys, and government employees who understand state and federal governance.

Given our coalition’s dedication to educate and support the law enforcement and judicial communities in the enforcement and administration of Ohio’s animal welfare laws, I want to begin my testimony by thanking Representative Hambley’s leadership in addressing criminal prosecution authority as a component within this important piece of legislation for Ohioans.

Our coalition strongly agrees that the first step in the successful criminal prosecution of crimes related to animal cruelty begins with the governance of Ohio Revised Code. However, our supporters have expressed concerns that HB 198 will weaken the current provisions under 2931.18 which allows a humane society or its agent to employ an attorney to prosecute violations of law relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. Their greatest concerns include the following:

1. The proposed legislation repeals the statute authorizing a humane society or its agent to employ an attorney and to also employ one or more assistant attorneys to prosecute violations of law relating to prevention of cruelty to animals.

Recommendation: Retain the original language under 2931.18.  A unique aspect of prosecuting animal cruelty cases is that the evidence includes living creatures that require daily care.  We firmly believe having the ability to appoint a special prosecutor allows humane societies to work with an experienced specialist in animal statutes, case law and veterinary reporting. This specialist is able to prioritize animal cruelty and neglect cases and expeditiously establish custody of animals that cannot humanely be held in a cage while waiting for their day in our hard-working, but heavily burdened court system. 

2.  The proposed legislation seeks to move the oversight of special prosecutors employed by humane societies perceived to be without any accountability to either a county prosecutor or municipal law director.

Recommendation: Retain the original language under 2931.18 and consider alternative language which would appoint a probate judge to review all pre-prosecution agreements prior to execution by the courts.  (It is important to note the records involving all of a humane society’s resolved criminal cases are available to any Ohioan who requests them under the Ohio Sunshine Laws.) 

Our eight groups and their supporters firmly believe that changes to 2931.18 under House Bill 198 will remove an important tool for humane societies to successfully prosecute animal cruelty cases. Most importantly, we believe the proposed abolition of humane societies’ authority to employ an attorney could create scenarios for cases of egregious violations under 959.131(B) to fall by the wayside for already overworked elected and appointed prosecutors. This is of special concern given that a recent report released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund has shown Ohio has not yet evolved to placing a greater emphasis on animal welfare in the intervening decades when compared to other states in the Midwest.

It is our hope this Committee will reflect on the opinions expressed by our eight groups and their supporters in today’s testimony prior to recommending Ohio House Bill 198 for review and passage by the House Judiciary Committee.

As the representative for Angels for Animals, Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio, Joseph’s Legacy, Justice for Herbie, Nitro Foundation/Nitro’s Ohio Army, Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, Ohio Voters for Companion Animals, Inc. and Paws and the Law, I greatly appreciate your time and consideration on this important piece of legislation for Ohioans, and I welcome any questions you may have.

It’s raining cat & dog bills in Columbus this week – HB 60, HB 187, HB 198, & SB 151!

Four, important, companion animal bills are having hearings in Columbus on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Let’s get political for our cats and dogs!  Please call the committee members.  Let them know you want increased, legal protections for our beloved cats and dogs.

(Everything you need is right here – the bills, summaries of the bills, why the bills are important, committee leaders with contact information, sample scripts.)


1.  OHIO ANIMAL ACTION ALERT!

HB 60, ‘Goddard’s Law’, is having a hearing (all testimony) in Columbus on Tuesday, June 9!

Please call the members of the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee in support of HB 60! (It’s always better if you can tweak your own script a bit to make it sound different.)

(HB 60 IS 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.)

* * IMPORTANT – There is a notation on the Ohio House web site next to HB 60 that indicates that there is a possible amendment to the bill. So, please support HB 60 “AS WRITTEN”. We have not seen the amendment. We do not know at this time if we support the unknown, possible amendment.

You might say, “Good afternoon, Chair Hill. This is _____ from ________, Ohio. I’m calling to urge you to use your leadership in the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee to bring HB 60, ‘Goddard’s Law’, felony for animal cruelty, to a vote. Then please VOTE YES on HB 60 ‘AS WRITTEN’.

There is some confusion among advocates about whether an unknown amendment is going to be added to HB 60 this week.  I only support HB 60 ‘AS WRITTEN’ at this time.”

Rep Brian Hill, Chair

(614) 644-6014

rep97@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Tony Burkley, Vice Chair

(614) 644-5091

rep82@ohiohouse.gov

Rep John Patterson, Ranking Member

(614) 466-1405

rep99@ohiohouse.gov


2.  OHIO ANIMAL ACTION ALERT!

HB 187, First Responders May Stabilize Pets in Emergencies, is having a hearing in Columbus on Wednesday, June 10.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary… (Read HB 187 here for yourself.)

Please call the members of the House Health and Aging Committee in support of HB 187! (It’s always better if you can tweak your own script a bit to make it sound different.)

(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 to a stressed animal or a splint to his injured leg before the animal goes to a veterinarian.)

You might say, “Good morning Chair Gonzales. This is ______ from _______, Ohio. I am calling to urge you to use your leadership in the House Health and Aging Committee to bring HB 187, First Responders May Stabilize Pets in Emergencies, to a vote in your committee. Then, please VOTE YES on HB 187.

This is a common sense bill that clarifies the for first responders the actions they may take on behalf of saving the life of a family pet or a police canine.”

House Health and Aging Committee

Rep Anne Gonzales, Chair
(614) 466-4847 
rep19@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Stephen A. Huffman, Vice Chair
(614) 466-8114 
rep80@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Nickie J. Antonio, Ranking Member
(614) 466-5921 
rep13@ohiohouse.gov


3.  OHIO ANIMAL ACTION ALERT!

HB 198, Special Prosecutors Appointed by Humane Societies, is having a hearing (proponent testimony) in Columbus on Tuesday, June 9.

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

Please call the members of the House Judiciary Committee.  (It’s always better if you can tweak your own script a bit to make it sound different.)

House Judiciary Committee

 Rep Jim Butler, Chair

(614) 644-6008 

rep41@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Nathan H. Manning, Vice Chair

(614) 644-5076 

rep55@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Michael Stinziano

(614) 466-1896 

rep18@ohiohouse.gov


4.  OHIO ACTION ALERT! 

SB 151, “The Klonda Richey Act”, is having a hearing (sponsor testimony) in Columbus on Tuesday, June 9 this week!

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

Please call the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  (It’s always better if you can tweak your own script a bit to make it sound different.)

Senate Agriculture Committee

Sen Cliff Hite, Chair

(614) 466-8150

hite@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Joe Uecker, Vice Chair

(614) 466-8082

uecker@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Lou Gentile

(614) 466-6508

gentile@ohiosenate.gov