Tag Archives: kennel

Bills and Ballot Initiative in the 132nd Ohio General Assembly

BILLS

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

     OPPOSE

  • 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”, aims to allow dogs on outdoor patios of restaurants

     SUPPORT

      sponsor – Rep Laura Lanese (R)

  • 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”

     SUPPORT

      sponsor – Rep Laura Lanese (R)

  • https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-3194 (Read the bill here)

4. HB 433 – “Veterinary Spay-Neuter”

      SUPPORT

  • 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.

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

     INTERESTED PARTY

  • sponsor – Sen Bill Beagle

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

5.  SB 232 – “Veterinary Spay-Neuter”

      SUPPORT

  •    sponsor – Sen Cecil Thomas

  •   cosponsors – Sens Charleta Tavares, Joe Schiavoni, Kenny Yuko

  • author – DanaMarie Pannella, Esq.

  •   status – assigned to Senate Agriculture Committee – 11-15-2017

  • 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)

PUPPY MILL BALLOT INITIATIVE 

     SUPPORT

  • HSUS initiative
  • aims to increase the standard of care in the kennels of large-scale breeders

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

Please TWEET or CALL Ohio Governor Kasich

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed SB 331, the ‘Petland’ bill, into law, “behind closed doors and without additional comment”, as reported by the Vindicator.  

A huge thanks goes to each of you for all the calls and tweets that  sent to the governor. You stayed active, dedicated, and strong right until the final moments.

You are wonderful advocates for our animal friends.

Governor Kasich and the legislators that VOTED YES on SB 331 did not listen to us. The bill moved very quickly through the legislature and then to the governor. Interested parties were not included in all of the discussions. It was not properly vetted.

Governor Kasich and the legislators who voted yes have failed us and the animals that we love.

There are some 22 states have passed “Puppy Lemon” laws and 206 jurisdictions across the nation that have passed pet store ordinances, aimed at drying up the market for mill animals. 

Why has Ohio moved so quickly in the OPPOSITE direction?

Petland could continue to stay in business utilizing a humane, business model, as other successful, national, pet stores use.

Finally, the governor and the Statehouse majority have stomped ‘home-rule’, embedded in the Ohio Constitution. The same legislators that cry “No more big government”, always bristling at interference from the federal government, have dishonored the work and the judgement of local jurisdictions and have taken away some of their legal rights with the passage of SB 331.

How did YOUR STATE SENATOR and YOUR STATE REP vote?  A YES VOTE means they are in support of SB 331. A NO VOTE means they are opposed to SB 331.

Ohio Senate Vote – December 7, 2016

Yeas : 21 – Nays : 10

Yeas

Kevin Bacon (R), Troy Balderson (R), Bill Beagle (R), Dave Burke (R), Bill Coley (R), John Eklund (R), Keith Faber (R), Bob D. Hackett (R), Cliff Hite (R), Jay Hottinger (R),Shannon Jones (R), Kris Jordan (R), Frank LaRose (R), Peggy Lehner (R), Gayle Manning (R),Larry Obhof (R), Scott Oelslager (R), Tom Patton (R), Bob Peterson (R), Bill Seitz (R), Joe Uecker (R), Bob D. Hackett (R)

Nays

Edna Brown (D), Randy Gardner (R), Lou Gentile (D), Tom Sawyer (D), Joe Schiavoni (D), Michael J. Skindell (D), Charleta B. Tavares (D), Cecil Thomas (D), Sandra R. Williams (D), Kenny Yuko (D)

Ohio House Votes – December 7, 2016

Yeas : 55 – Nays : 42

Yeas

Ron Amstutz (R), Marlene Anielski (R), Niraj J. Antani (R), Steven Arndt (R), Nan A. Baker (R), John Becker (R), Louis W. Blessing III (R), Terry Boose (R), Andrew Brenner (R), Jim Buchy (R), Tony Burkley (R), Jim Butler (R), Margaret Conditt (R), Robert R. Cupp (R), Anthony DeVitis (R), Bill Dean (R), Jonathan Dever (R), Mike Dovilla (R), Theresa Gavarone (R), Timothy E. Ginter (R), Anne Gonzales (R), Wesley A. Goodman (R), Doug Green (R), Christina Hagan (R), David Hall (R), Bill Hayes (R), Michael Henne (R), Brian Hill (R), Ron Hood (R), Stephen A. Huffman (R), Candice R. Keller (R), Kyle Koehler (R), Al Landis (R), Ron Maag (R), Nathan H. Manning (R), Robert McColley (R), Derek Merrin (R), Dorothy Pelanda (R), Rick Perales (R), Bill Reineke (R), Wes Retherford (R), Kristina Roegner (R), Mark J. Romanchuk (R), Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R), Scott Ryan (R), Tim Schaffer (R), Gary Scherer (R), Kirk Schuring (R), Marilyn Slaby (R), Ryan Smith (R), Robert Sprague (R), Louis Terhar (R), Andy Thompson (R), Ron Young (R), Paul Zeltwanger (R)

 Nays

Nickie J. Antonio (D), Mike Ashford (D), John Barnes, Jr. (D), Heather Bishoff (D), John Boccieri (D), Kristin Boggs (D), Kevin Boyce (D), Janine R. Boyd (D), Thomas E. Brinkman, Jr. (R), Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D), Jack Cera (D), Kathleen Clyde (D), Hearcel F. Craig (D), Michael F. Curtin (D), Denise Driehaus (D), Mike Duffey (R), Teresa Fedor (D), Cheryl L. Grossman (R), Stephen D. Hambley (R), Stephanie D. Howse (D), Greta Johnson (D), Christie Bryant Kuhns (D), Stephanie Kunze (R), Sarah LaTourette (R), David Leland (D), Michele Lepore-Hagan (D), Michael J. O’Brien (D), Sean O’Brien (D), Bill Patmon (D), John Patterson (D), Debbie Phillips (D), Alicia Reece (D), Jeffery S. Rezabek (R), John M. Rogers (D), Margaret Ann Ruhl (R), Michael Sheehy (D), Stephen Slesnick (D), Kent Smith (D), Fred Strahorn (D), Martin J. Sweeney (D), Emilia Strong Sykes (D), A. Nino Vitale (R)

SB 331 also OVERTURNS the pet store ordinances already in effect in Toledo and Grove City and STOPS other, Ohio jurisdictions from passing future pet store ordinances. 

Please send a RESPECTFUL tweet, expressing disappointment in the passage of SB 331.  I know that many of you are angry, hurt, and fed up.  This bill is not fair to our puppies, our families, and our workers.  Yet, your message will not be well received unless it is POLITE.

You may tweet these phrases, or you might want to tweet your personal message.  

#SB331stompshomerule 22 states & 205 jurisdictions protect unsuspecting consumers – Why not Ohio?

#SB331stompshomerule OH Gov Kasich fails workers, families, & puppies

#SB331stompshomerule fast-tracked without proper vetting hurts OH workers, consumers, puppies

Is Ohio HOME RULE state (Statehouse said yes on BSL bill) or not (Statehouse said no on Petland bill)?

 Would you like to create a Twitter account?  It is free.  You can set up an account in a few easy steps.  Ask a teenager for help if you need support.

I went down the entire Twitter list here on this page in just 2 minutes, tweeting to all.

Yes, you can use your e-mail address (instead of your telephone number).

https://support.twitter.com/articles/100990

Twitter accounts 

@JohnKasich  —   John Kasich, governor

@TeamJohnKasich  —   John Kasich, communication team

@OhioSenateGOP  —  Ohio Senate GOP Caucus

@OhioSenateDems  —  Ohio Senate Dem Caucus

@OHRGOPCaucus  —  Ohio House GOP Caucus

@OHHouseDems  —  Ohio House Dem Caucus

@OhioPoliticsNow  —  Columbus Dispatch, politics

@Enquirer  —  Cincinnati Enquirer

@jpelzer  —  Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland Plain Dealer

@dskolnick  —  David Skolnick, Youngstown Vindicator

@ohiocapitalblog  —  Marc Kovac

@ThomasSuddes —  Thomas Suddes

@ohioaj  —  Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch

@dispatcheditor  — Alan D. Miller, editor at Columbus Dispatch

                                Add your own hometown newspaper.

Call Governor Kasich at 614-466-3555.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-331   (Read SB 331 here.)

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.)

Liz Raab, a Rottie Mom

“We need (BOG) boots on the ground!  We need an army to do this!”  With those words Liz Raab from Queens, New York, became commander and chief of one of the savviest, most successful, social media campaigns any state legislature has ever faced.

Four feet, eleven inches tall, “Liz took Ohio by storm,” affirmed Wendy Flickering-Smith, one of Liz’s lieutenants.  She commandeered  a grassroots core of 2,000 animal activists, ”Nitro’s Ohio Army”,  with the lilt of her New York accent, straight talk from the heart, and a Facebook page.    “I always tell them the truth.  That’s why they go the extra mile,” assured Liz. 

Liz launched her Ohio campaign from her battle station far away in one of the boroughs in NYC, successfully using her own fiery brand of charisma, animal passion, people smarts, and a “don’t back down” attitude.  She motivated her Ohio troops in 88 counties to unyielding action on behalf of ground-breaking, companion animal legislation, HB 90, “Nitro’s Law”.  With the enactment of “Nitro’s Law”, intentional animal cruelty by owners, managers, and employees in a kennel became a felony. 

                                                               Nitro’s Tragedy

Liz began her battle to enact the initial “felony first”, animal cruelty legislation in Ohio shortly after a personal tragedy.  Her beloved three-year old, Rottweiler, Nitro, was left with food, toys, full medical coverage, and anticipation of additional training in a Youngstown kennel, while she and her husband, Tom Siesto, kept vigil at the hospital bed of her ailing 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.  The nineteen dogs there had been left in a house of death.  Nitro and six other animals had died slow, painful deaths, day by day, while boarded at the kennel. 

An additional twelve animals were in deplorable physical condition, severely underweight, dehydrated, and near starvation.  How could this happen?  Liz and Tom’s much-loved animal went from a healthy 105 pounds when they left him at the kennel to 50 pounds at his death weeks later.

Ohio’s hideously weak animal laws revealed themselves at the criminal trial of the kennel owner.  For severe, animal cruelty, the agonizing deaths by dehydration and starvation of seven dogs and the near deaths of twelve additional animals, all of which had been left by their owners in his care, the kennel owner was subject to a misdemeanor charge with four months in jail with four counts of animal cruelty.  He then declared bankruptcy, which allowed him to avoid paying for the animals in the lawsuit.

                                                   The Commander Strategizes

This general would never leave behind her fallen comrade.  “Change doesn’t happen unless there is a tragedy,” Liz acknowledged.  She mustered up the grit to endure five years and three tours of duty in the Ohio General Assembly to see enacted a felony five provision in the Ohio Revised Code. 

Liz, her daughter Christina, her husband Tom, and her thousands of soldiers in Nitro’s  Army, sacrificed much and campaigned tirelessly with the Ohio legislators to put Ohio, which had been 34th in animal protections, on a playing field with the other states, forty-nine of which had felony provisions for animal abuse.

“I am far from a quitter.  When someone tells me it cannot be done, I push ahead more,” asserted Liz.  With her Army, Liz facilitated peaceful rallies throughout Ohio on behalf of animal welfare.  The troops attended pet shows, parades, events, and expositions to educate the public about animal cruelty legislation.  Platoons went door to door to collect signatures.  Liz sent battalions to monitor specific, animal cruelty cases in courthouses throughout Ohio.

In addition, she initiated her “Wanted Wednesdays” program. On Wednesdays,  Liz featured “cold cases” of Ohio animal abuse and cruelty on social media.  “People send me their cases from all over Ohio.  Sometimes the media sends them to me too,” Liz stated. 

How did the 27,000 animal lovers who followed Liz on Facebook feel about her mission to protect companion animals?  Kristina Manley, a soldier in “Nitro’s Ohio Army”, wrote, “Every Wanted Wednesday lights my fire to do more! Yes, it’s heartbreaking, but every one of those stories feeds my desire to change the world. It reminds me what we are fighting for. I don’t want those animals to have suffered in vain. I want to stop all the suffering. I will stand by all of those animals who have been wronged.”

Liz strategized her maneuvers for success in the Ohio General Assembly all the way from New York, speaking weekly with State Representative Ron Gerberry, from Youngstown, Ohio, where Nitro’s tragedy happened.  She kept in touch personally with many of the state representatives and senators by phone and by e-mail.

The general was on her war game “24/7”.  When in Columbus, a nine and a half hour drive from her home, she met personally with as many members of the Ohio Congress as she could.  She watched all the taped versions of the Ohio General Assembly and its committees to study the personalities of the individuals, their preferences, their interests, their special projects.  The general was mapping out her war plan.

Where did she get her grit?   Liz answered, “I’m a Rottie mom.  In all honesty, I’m just true to my breed.  A Rottie is a very loving and caring animal, but he’s forceful when necessary … God sent this terrible situation with Nitro to me.  It was my destiny.  I believe that this was meant to happen because God knew that I would do something.  He sent it so we could enact legal protections for animals.  And we are going to keep on doing it!”

                                                             The Five-year Trek

What was a five-year trek through the Ohio General Assembly like?  Liz replied, “There were no highs along the way, no clear victories. There were a lot of disappointments.”   Still, she mustered on.  It seemed in 2012 with the Ohio House approving HB 90 and an informal poll taken of the senators’ votes, that “Nitro’s Law” was headed for a long-awaited victory.  But the Ohio Senate president refused to put the bill to the floor for a vote.  Another opportunity for improved laws in Ohio died.

Thankfully, the tides turned favorably in the spring of 2013.  Ohio Governor Kasich signed into law HB 90, “Nitro’s Law”.  It was step one, an incremental part of a journey to increasingly strengthen Ohio animal protections.   Liz announced, “We’ll be back in the fall.  My dream is to see all of the animal groups in Ohio, the groomers, the breeders, the rescuers, the hobby breeders, the sportsmen, all come together.  They need to check their feelings and preferences at the door and work together for what is best for Ohio animals. 

“Nitro and his kennel mates will now be able to rest in peace.  This law will make a huge difference.  It will be built upon, in future General Assemblies, to include more and more (legal protections) for our companion animals, our family members.”

Now, even though “Nitro’s Law” had been enacted, Liz and her regiments in the Army remained on active duty.  All of their successful campaigns continued in their Ohio garrison for the “next step”, felony for  animal cruelty.

Liz Raab, commander of “Nitro’s Ohio Army”, distinguished herself in her call to duty.   She showed unparalleled courage and dignity during and after the deaths of her beloved Nitro and each of her dear parents.  In spite of her own health issues, she soldiered on with extraordinary leadership and selflessness, animating the troops with photos, songs, and funny pictures.  

When enemy forces bore down, she wielded her mightiest weapon.  She sent her soldiers pouring down on Ohio senators and Ohio representatives with calls, letters, and visits.   She lit up social media with gospel choirs singing “Oh, Happy Day!” to rally the troops to action. On other days she ignited combat operations with raucous music, like “I’m Not Afraid to Take A Stand” and “Bad Boys, Bad Boys Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You?” 

                                                         Mission Accomplished

We salute you, Liz!  Mission accomplished.   Ohio enacted its first “felony first” law, “Nitro’s Law”, to protect the defenseless, companion animals and their owners.  We await the enactment soon of its sister bill, HB 45, Humane Officer Training.

One determined woman from New York stayed the course for five years, directed a huge social media blitzkrieg from a faraway state, and propelled tens of thousands of animal advocates to action, in order to replace the weak laws in Ohio, to forever protect companion animals and their owners, in memory of her own beloved Rottweiler, Nitro.

Bills in the 131st General Assembly

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”

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          OPPOSE because of amendment added on June 9, 2015

(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: 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”

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          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

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.  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

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.)