Tag Archives: legislation

SB 232, “Veterinary Spay-Neuter” bill on its way to win!

Are you in?

Follow SB 232, “Veterinary Spay-Neuter” bill on its path to victory for Ohio cats, dogs, & the people that love them!

1. SB 232 started with the idea of reducing the number of healthy and adoptable, shelter pets.

2. Senator Cecil Thomas (D), humane legislator, agreed to sponsor this bill.

3. DanaMarie Pannella, Esq., experienced, compassionate attorney, wrote SB 232.

4. Senator Thomas asked the other senators if they would like to co-sponsor his bill. Senators Schiavoni (D), Yuko (D), and Tavares (D) are now co-sponsors. 

5. On November 14, 2017 the “Veterinary Spay-Neuter” bill was  assigned a number, SB 232.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-SB-232 (Read the bill here.) 

6. On November 15, 2017, the bill was assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee.

7. This is where YOU come in.  YOUR CALLS PUSH SB 232 forward in the process.

It’s always best to change the script a bit so that your message sounds fresh.  You might comment with an original phrase about your feelings.You might say, “Good morning, Senator Hoagland, this is (your name), calling from (your city), an Ohio voter.  —  I’m very excited about SB 232, the “Veterinary Spay-Neuter” bill.  I don’t see how anyone could oppose it because the bill gives veterinarians the option, not a mandate, to perform free spay-neuter in exchange for continuing education units. 

It’s a win-win bill!  I strongly urge you to call SB 232 to a sponsor hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee. – Thank you.”

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Please PM me, Beth Sheehan, with your e-mail address to be placed on the “Animal Action Alerts!” list. I provide a sample script and contact information. Your call should take about 5 minutes.

Are you in?

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

Do you have ten minutes to advocate for Ohio mill puppies and kittens?

Kindly write or call important decision makers in Columbus to push back against the contentious amendment in HB 166!

The “Pet Store Animal Sales” amendment, recently slipped into HB 166, an unrelated tax cleanup bill, lays a legal foundation for continuing ‘profits over pups’. 

This amendment aims to OVERTURN the ban on the sale of mill animals in pet stores already passed in Toledo and Grove City and to STOP future ordinances from passing in Ohio cities.

This amendment overrides “home rule”, the ability of individual jurisdictions to understand and to regulate their local issues. Will the state legislature be enacting other legislation to nullify more local ordinances?

The ever-popular “End Big Government” chorus is silent here.  State legislators appear to be strong-arming the small jurisdictions by moving suddenly on this undesirable amendment, right before summer break. These legislators are now poised to impose the will of a few onto the many.  

Costly, ongoing problems come with the purchase of mill animals.  Designer pets, originating in mills, with hidden health and behavior problems, are often sold for $1,000, $1,500, even several thousands of dollars per animal. Cleaned up, groomed, and endearing – but seriously defective – pets are sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Moreover, this recently added amendment is a clear example of special interests and lobbyists directing the legislature.  Petland has a law suit against Grove City because of the ordinance that passed there in March to ban mill animals from being sold in pet stores.

Petland approached Senator Bob Peterson (R) of Chillicothe, where Petland’s world headquarters is located, to add this amendment to a bill.  Senator Peterson is the chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee, that is hearing HB 166 with the horrendous, Petland-backed amendment. 

Also, the “Pet Stores Animal Sales” amendment states, “The regulation of pet stores is a matter of general statewide interest that requires statewide regulation.”   I agree that this is a laudable goal.   It should, however, be reached in a decidedly different manner.  Instead of voiding local ordinances with state bills, the senators should be applauding the legislative initiatives and due diligence of Grove City and Toledo. 

Widespread awareness of the miserable conditions in which animals are raised by large-scale, dog merchants has launched a flurry of protective, legislative action across the nation.  Over 160 jurisdictions nationwide have passed ordinances to ban the sale of mill animals in pet stores with a half dozen more poised to pass their own ordinances.  

More than 21 states (AZ, AK, CA, CT, DE, FL, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NB, NV, NH, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA) have enacted “Puppy Lemon Laws”. “Puppy Lemon” laws are common sense consumer protections that guard against individuals unknowingly buying a dog or cat with expensive, health or severe behavior problems.

Senator Peterson was recently quoted in the media as saying he wanted to see animals coming from USDA-licensed breeders.  Unfortunately, Senator, the USDA-licensed breeders require only the most bare, minimum standards of care to keep an animal alive. 

Pet stores nationwide regularly advertise that their puppies and kittens come from USDA-licensed breeders.  This is an attempt to relax unsuspecting consumers.  The consumers believe that this means these animals are not bred in mills. That is not so.  That USDA-license neither assures that the animals were housed in sanitary conditions nor confirms that the animals had adequate, veterinary care. 

Big business is at its worst here. One business with its world headquarters in Ohio is directing state law, against the will of the voters across the state. 

There is a hearing in Columbus on HB 166 this Wednesday WITH A POSSIBLE VOTE. We do not want the amendment to be voted on in committee. We want the amendment to be taken out.

If the committee votes on HB 166 WITH the amendment, it is also possible that HB 166 could move to the Senate floor for a vote. This would not be good.

There is a similar, pet store bill in Arizona that has passed both the House and the Senate. It awaits the governor’s signature.  

“’We want to grow in all four corners of the state,’ said Mike Gonidakis, Petland attorney and lobbyist. ‘Our world headquarters is in Chillicothe. We’re a family-owned business that employs 500 people statewide in over 20 stores, and we want to grow. But radicals have been picking off city councils one at a time to ban us from operating.’”

Both Toledo and Grove City Councils have passed resolutions opposing this amendment.

When Illinois Governor Quinn signed his “Puppy Lemon” bill into law, he stated, ”This law … is all about protecting our pets and protecting our families who love their pets.  We don’t want those who are conducting these puppy mills anywhere in the United States to get away with what they’re doing. That’s our real mission.”

Please write or call the members of the Senate Ways and Means committee.  RESPECTFULLY ask that the “Pet Stores Animal Sales” amendment be taken out of HB 166.

“Dear Chair Peterson, Vice Chair Beagle, Ranking Minority Member Tavares, and honorable members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee,”

“I strongly urge you to strike the “Pet Store Animal Sales” amendment, recently slipped into HB 166, a tax cleanup bill.”

“I stand firmly against this amendment for several reasons.  First, I am opposed to the state legislators working to end ‘home rule’. Local jurisdictions are in the best position to know what their community values are and to make their own ordinances. This is yet another example of ‘big government’ deciding what’s best for all and imposing laws which the local jurisdictions do not want.”

“Second, state legislation should protect unsuspecting consumers from buying unhealthy, unsocialized animals instead of opening the floodgates to sell more mill animals.”

“Third, this recently added amendment relates specifically to one, Ohio business whose world headquarters is located in the chair of the committee’s district, Chillicothe.”

“In closing, I urge you to strike this contentious amendment from HB 166 before the next committee meeting.”

Sincerely,

–(your name)—

–(your city)—

Senate Ways and Means Committee

Sen Bob Peterson, Chair (R), (614) 466-8156 peterson@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Bill Beagle (R), (614) 466-6247 beagle@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Chaleta Tavares (D), Ranking Minority Member (614) 466-5131 tavares@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Troy Balderson (R), (614) 466-8076 balderson@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Capri Cafaro (D), (614) 466-7182 cafaro@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Frank LaRose (R), (614) 466-4823 larose@ohiosenate.gov

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

Sen Bob Hackett (R), (614) 466-3780 hackett@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Kris Jordan (R), (614) 466-8086 jordan@ohiosenate.gov

Sen Sandra Williams (D), (614) 466-4857 williams@ohiosenate.gov

Please copy your e-mails to jsiegel@dispatch.com and jprovance@theblade.com They have been reporting on the amendment.

In my opinion, any legislator in support of this amendment is NOT a HUMANE LEGISLATOR. Do not vote for him or her in November. Keep those names on your radar and widely share them.

Thank you so much for working to stop this fast-tracked, offensive amendment!

Is your state senator a humane legislator?

VOTE SMART for your Ohio State Senator in November!

Our companion animal bills languish and die year after year in the Ohio Senate.  In the last seven years only three of our stand-alone bills, HB 14, “No BSL”; SB 177, “Puppy Mills”; and SB 177, “Domestic Violence and Pet Protection Orders”, have been enacted into law. “Nitro’s Law” was folded into the governor’s two-year budget at the end of its five-year journey through the legislature.

The voting record of Senator Keith Faber shows those three votes.  Senator Faber, Senate president, has the authority to get legislative action for our bills.  In the last SEVEN YEARS, he has consistently chosen not to move our bills forward in committees and not to call our bills to the floor for votes.  He now has term limits in the Senate and is running in the House.

Senator Keith Faber (R) (in 8th year of Senate) 

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – no vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote

Please know who your state senator is and his voting record on our bills before you vote in November.  

Each voter can vote for no more than one state rep and one state senator.  

Find your state rep and your state senator at the following link.  Fill in both boxes.  The first box is for your zip code.  The second is for your 4-digit extension.  If you do not know your 4-digit extension, there is a quick link right above the boxes to find it.

If you have done everything correctly, you will see just two names, your state rep and your state senator.  PM me, Beth Sheehan, with those two names.  I’ll give you their contact information.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislators/find-my-legislators

The voting records of the current legislators, who are Senate candidates, are listed below.  Note that the majority of votes below are from the legislators when they were in the House, not the Senate.  Our stand-alone bills can pass the House.  Our bills were only passed by the Senate three times in the last seven years.

There will also be candidates on your ballot that have no voting record because they have not yet voted at the state level.  

I strongly urge you to contact those Senate candidates in your area.  Ask them how they have voted on animal issues in the past.  Ask them how they would vote on a felony for animal cruelty bill, an animal abuse registry, a bill to bring dogs and cats inside when there is a weather emergency.  Then, share that information with friends and family in your district.

Half of the state Senate seats are up for reelection.  Half are not.  Please check to see if your state senator’s seat is on your ballot. 

Additionally, all ninety-nine House seats will be voted on.  Each voter votes for one state senator and one state representative.  We vote for them.  They vote for our bills. 

I have not only included the legislators’ votes, but also when they sponsor / cosponsor our bills.  

So, why do so many senators have no sponsor / cosponsor of our companion animal bills?  If they sponsor / cosponsor bills, it indicates that they would vote yes.  

This is why we need you to VOTE SMART on March 15!

 1.  Randy Gardner (R) (I) (was in House earlier; is now 4th year in Senate)  – District 2

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – no vote

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Cockfighting – yes vote

HB 14 – No BSL – sponsor, yes vote

HB 25 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Nitro’s Law – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – cosponsor, yes vote (his only YES VOTE as a senator; he did not cosponsor any other bills as a senator)

2.  Bill Coley (R) (I) (was in House earlier;  is now 4th year in Senate) – District 4 – (He voted twice against our bills: “Nitro’s Law” and Cock Fighting.)

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – no vote

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Cockfighting – no vote

HB 14 – no BSL – sponsor, yes vote

SB 130 SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – cosponsor, yes vote (his only YES VOTE as a senator; he did not cosponsor any other bills as a senator)

3.  Peggy Lehner (R) (I) (was in House earlier; is now 4th year in Senate) – District 6

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – no vote

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Cockfighting – yes vote

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – cosponsor, yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote (her only YES VOTE as a senator; she did not cosponsor any other bills as a senator)

4.  Lou Terhar (R) (is in House; has never been in Senate) – District 8

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

HB 274 – Felony for Animal Cruelty – yes vote

HB 310 – PTSD Merits Service Animal – cosponsor

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote

HB 215 – Cock Fighting – no vote

5.  Robert Hackett (R) (was in House; has never been in Senate) – District 10 – HUMANE LEGISLATOR

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – yes vote

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Cockfighting – sponsor, yes vote

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

HB 25 – PPO – sponsor, yes vote

HB 108 – Nitro’s Law – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

HB 57 – Humane Officer Training – cosponsor, yes vote

HB 274 – Felony for Animal Cruelty – cosponsor, yes vote

HB 310 – PTSD Merits Service Dog – cosponsor

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote

6.   John Adams (R) (was in House; has never been in Senate) – District 12  (He voted EIGHT TIMES against our bills: “Nitro’s Law”, Cock Fighting, No BSL, PPO, “Nitro’s Law”, Puppy Mills, Humane Officer Training, & Felony for Animal Cruelty.)

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – no vote

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Cockfighting – no vote

HB 14 – No BSL – no vote

HB 25 – PPO – no vote

HB 108 – Nitro’s Law – no vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – no vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – no vote

HB 57 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

HB 274 – Felony for Animal Cruelty – no vote

HB 310 – PTSD Merits Service Dog – cosponsor

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote

7.  Matt Huffman (R) (was in House; has never been in Senate) – District 12  (He voted against our bills three times: “Nitro’s Law”, Humane Officer Training, and Cock Fighting.)

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote 

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – no vote

HB 108 – Cockfighting – no vote

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

HB 25 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Nitro’s Law – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – no vote

HB 57 – Humane Officer Training – cosponsor, yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote

8.  Bob Peterson (R)

“A final committee vote (on the “Pet Store Animal Sales” amendment) was postponed until next week. Sen. Bob Peterson (R., Sabina), the committee’s chairman and prime force behind the amendment, said he is working on language he hopes will address some of the concerns raised.”

“The bill would have to return to the House for approval of the Senate changes. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R., Clarksville) said he would prefer to remove the amendment and have the issue considered on its own as a separate bill.”

“’Why would we want to stop cities like Toledo and Grove City from offering consumers and retail pets even more protection?’ asked Lori Seubert, a former Toledo teacher and animal rights advocate. ‘Well, I say it’s because this bill is not about animal welfare and consumer protection at all. It’s about Petland’s plan to expand into the four corners of Ohio by selling puppies that are bred in volume in horrible conditions.’”

“Toledo City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution in defense of its ordinance.”

The bill amendment was requested by Petland, a global pet retail chain that has a store in Grove City but not in Toledo. The chain’s headquarters are in Chillicothe in Senator Peterson’s district.”

http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2016/05/12/Tempers-fly-over-nbsp-puppy-mill-bill.html

“The amendment (to REVERSE the ordinances in Grove City and Toledo that require pet stores to sell animals from shelters and to STOP other Ohio cities from passing a ban on selling mill animals) was added to House Bill 166 (an unrelated tax cleanup bill) by the committee’s chairman, Sen. Bob Peterson (R., Sabina).”
 http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2016/05/07/State-bill-would-negate-Toledo-s-puppy-mill-law.html#EUjWQ04Gw3yObo4P.99 

Sen. Bob Peterson, R-Sabina, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, declined comment. He represents Chillicothe, where Petland is headquartered, and said he expects a vote on the bill next week.”

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/05/11/pet-store-regulations-causing-quite-the-debate-at-the-statehouse.html

Sponsor of SB 331, “Dog Sales in Pet Stores”

8.  Joe Uecker (R) (I) (was in House earlier; is now 4th year in Senate) – District 14  (He voted against our bills three times: “Nitro’s Law”, Cock Fighting, and “Nitro’s Law”.)

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – no vote

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Cock Fighting – no vote

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

HB 25 – PPO – sponsor, yes vote

HB 108 – Nitro’s Law – no vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote (his only YES VOTE as a senator; he did not cosponsor any other bills as a senator)

9.  Stephanie Kunze (R) (was in House; has never been in Senate) – District 16

HB 274 – Felony for Animal Cruelty – yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote

10.  John Eklund (R) (I) (4th year in Senate) – District 18

 HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

 SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

 SB 177 – DV & PPO – cosponsor, yes vote (his only YES VOTE as a senator; he did not cosponsor any other bills as a senator)

11.  Troy Balderson (R) (I) (was in House earlier; is now 4th year in Senate) – District 20  (He voted against our bills twice: “Nitro’s Law” and Cock Fighting.)

HB 70 – “Nitro’s Law” – no vote

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Cockfighting – no vote

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

HB 25 – PPO – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote  (his only YES VOTE as a senator; he did not cosponsor any other bills as a senator)

12.  Larry Obhof – (R) (I) (is now 4th year in Senate) – District 22

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – cosponsor, yes vote (his only YES VOTE as a senator; he did not cosponsor any other bills as a senator)

13.  Nan Baker – (R) (was in House; has never been in Senate) – District 24

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – yes vote

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Cockfighting – yes vote

HB 14 – No BSL – no vote

HB 108 – Nitro’s Law – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

HB 274 – Felony for Animal Abuse – cosponsor

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote

14.  Mike Dovilla – (R) (was in House; has never been in Senate) – District 24 – HUMANE LEGISLATOR

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

HB 25 – PPO – sponsor, yes vote

HB 108 – Nitro’s Law – yes vote

SB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

HB 274 – Felony for Animal Cruelty – cosponsor, yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote

HB 215 – Cock Fighting – yes vote

15.   Dave Burke (R) (I) (was in House earlier; is now 4th year in Senate) – District 26  (He voted no twice on our bills: “Nitro’s Law” and Cock Fighting.)

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – no vote

HB 55 – PPO – yes vote

HB 108 – Cock Fighting – no vote

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

HB 25 – PPO – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – cosponsor, yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – cosponsor, yes vote (his only YES VOTE as a senator; he did not cosponsor any other bills as a senator)

16.  Vernon Sykes (D) (was in House; has never been in Senate) – District 28  (He voted no twice on our bills: No BSL and PPO.)

HB 70 – Nitro’s Law – yes vote

HB 108 – Cockfighting – yes vote

HB 14 – No BSL – no vote

HB 25 – PPO – no vote

HB 108 – Nitro’s Law – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

HB 57 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

HB 274 – Felony for Animal Cruelty – yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – yes vote

17.  Lou Gentile – (D) (I) (was in House earlier; is now 4th year in Senate) – District 30 – HUMANE LEGISLATOR

HB 14 – No BSL – yes vote

HB 25 – PPO – yes vote

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – cosponsor, yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

SB 177 – DV & PPO – cosponsor, yes vote  (his only YES VOTE as a senator)

18.  Sean O’Brien – (D) (was in the House; has never been in Senate) – District 32 – HUMANE LEGISLATOR

SB 130 – Puppy Mills – yes vote

HB 138 – Humane Officer Training – yes vote

HB 57 – Humane Officer Training – cosponsor, yes vote

HB 274 – Felony for Animal Cruelty – cosponsor, yes vote

HB 310 – PTSD Merits Service Dog – cosponsor

GET POLITICAL for Ohio dogs, cats, and people at risk!

Do you want to end the suffering of outside dogs or to help the cat hoarder in your neighborhood? Then, it’s time to GET POLITICAL for those cats and dogs!

Join our Facebook groups today. Work from the comfort of your home to see stronger, legal protections enacted for Ohio cats, dogs, and people at risk.

We do all of the work for you. Your part is easy. We keep you informed about the companion animal bills and the legislators in the Ohio legislature. When it’s time to take action in support (or against) a bill, we post all of the necessary information for you.

Since we work primarily on state legislation, it’s important for you to know who your state senator and state representative are. (Senators Brown and Portman are federal, not state senators.)

There are 132 legislators, but each voter only has TWO that he can vote for or against, depending on where the voter lives.

You vote for your two legislators. They vote for our bills.

Find your own TWO legislators with the link below. Type in your zip code PLUS your four-digit extension in the two boxes by “Find my legislators.” (9 numbers in all). If you don’t know you 4-digit extension, there is a quick link by the box that takes you to a page where you type in your address. There you will find your 4-digit extension.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislators/find-my-legislators

When you are done, you should see just two names – your state rep and your state senator. Please PM Beth Sheehan with those two names and your county.

She will send you their e-mail addresses. It’s easier for you to get them from her than for you to go to your legislators’ web sites and to fill out a form.

Put those two e-mails into your address book. That way they will be handy for you to use.

If you want to be placed on my “OHIO ANIMAL ALERT!” list, PM Beth Sheehan your own e-mail address too.

The Ohio legislators are on summer break now. There won’t be much to do until the fall.

Thank you for your dedication to Ohio, companion animal legislation to help our cats, dogs, and people at risk get stronger, legal protections!

Call your US rep today in support of HR 2293, the PACT Act (Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture)!

A landmark bill, HR 2293, the PACT Act (Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture) is the first ever, federal bill aimed at prosecuting intentional animal cruelty.  The PACT Act gives the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorneys the authority to investigate and to prosecute animal cruelty cases.  While individual states across the nation have their own animal cruelty statutes, this federal bill grants an even wider reach into areas where individual states’ laws do not reach.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2293  (Read the bill here.)

Sponsor:  Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)

Cosponsors: Reps. Trent Franks (AZ), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Martha McSally (AZ), Julia Brownley (CA), Ken Calvert (CA), Tony Cardenas (CA), Judy Chu (CA), Susan Davis (CA), Sam Farr (CA), Grace Napolitano (CA), Scott Peters (CA), Adam Schiff (CA), Eric Swalwell (CA), Mark Takano (CA), David G. Valadao (CA), Mike Coffman (CO), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT), Elizabeth H. Esty (CT), Theodore Deutch (FL), Lois Frankel (FL), Alcee L. Hastings (FL), Vern Buchanan (FL),Carlos Curbelo (FL),  Frederica S. Wilson (FL), Austin Scott (GA), Dold, Robert Dold (IL), Mike Quigly (IL), Peter J. Visclosky (IN), Michael E. Capuano (MA), Stephen Lynch (MA),  James McGovern (MA), Chris Van Hollen (MD), John Sarbanes (MD), Chellie Pingree (ME), Keith Ellison (MN), Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (NJ), Donald Norcross (NJ), Eliot L Engel (NY), John Katko (NY), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Albio Sires (NJ), Joseph Heck (NV), Dina Titus (NV), Nita M. Lowey (NY), Jerrold  Nadler (NY), Louise McIntosh Slaughter (NY), David Price (NC), Joyce Beatty (OH), Steve Chabot (OH), Steve Stivers (OH), Michael Turner (OH), Earl Blumenauer (OR),  Suzanne Bonamici (OR), Mike Kelly (PA), Brendan F. Boyle (PA), Matt Cartwright (PA), Michael G. Fitzpatrick (PA), Tom Marino (PA), Patrick Meehan (PA), David N. Cicilline (RI), Steve Cohen (TN),  Beto O’Rourke (TX), Barbara Comstock (VA), Gerald E. Connolly (VA), Peter Welch (VT), Derek Kilmer (WA), Adam Smith (WA), Gwen Moore (WI), Mark Pocan (WI)

                                                         WHAT YOU CAN DO

First, locate your federal representative.

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/   (Find your US representative here by typing in your zip code in the box.)

Second, if your federal representative is not listed as a cosponsor above, call him to ask him if he will cosponsor this bill.  You might say, “Good morning, Representative ________.  I am _ (your name)__ from __(your city)__, __(your state)__ .  I am one of your constituents.  I am calling today to ask you to cosponsor  HR 2293, the PACT Act.  This important federal bill allows the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys to investigate and to prosecute intentional, animal cruelty.

“This is particularly important in today’s culture of violence because of the powerful connections between interpersonal violence, animal cruelty, and some, mental illness. Where there is animal cruelty, we all are at risk.”

If your federal representative is listed, please call him thanking him for sponsoring HR 2693.

You might say, “Dear Representative _______.  I am _(your name)__ from __(your city)__, __(your state)_.  I am one of your constituents.  I am calling to thank you for cosponsoring HR 2293, the PACT Act.

“As you know, because of the powerful connections between interpersonal violence, animal cruelty, and some mental illness, where there is animal abuse, we are all at risk.”

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.

There is a grim, human cost to the failure of our bills

What will be lost to Ohio communities if our seven, companion animal bills “time out” and die in the Statehouse in December?  While these bills intend to protect our beloved cats and dogs, they also aim to defend other vulnerable, human victims.   The failure of each of the seven bills has a grim, human cost, as well.  So, when the committee chairs do not call for hearings, or when the Senate leadership does not call our bills to the floor for a vote,  they are also turning their backs on some of Ohio’s most vulnerable populations. These unprotected victims will continue to pay a severe, human cost if these bills fail.

With the failure of HB 274, “Goddard’s Law”, Felony for Animal Cruelty, widespread violence, hidden in the shadows of our towns and cities, will remain there unchecked. Animal cruelty has well-established connections to interpersonal violence and some mental illness. The animal cruelty is a warning, a ‘red flag’ that others in the area may also be in danger. Animal abuse is powerfully tied to child abuse, elder abuse, maltreatment of handicapped, and spousal abuse. Why should children, elders, handicapped, and spouses in Ohio have to endure unbridled violence?

The FBI just changed its Uniform Crime Reporting information. Animal cruelty now holds a separate category. That reflects an enormous shift in the understanding of the scope and importance of animal crime. If community violence is to be effectively combated, then the animal abuse should be proactively rooted out and prosecuted with the same vigor that crimes against people are.

With the failure of HB 57, Humane Officer Training, Ohio counties will continue to be understaffed and under served. Our humane agents, animal crime scene investigators, often work in dangerous conditions with little pay. While examining animal abuse, they may be confronted by a violent spouse, a mentally ill individual, gangs, drug traffickers, or organized blood sports. Moreover, state law requires the county to pay its humane officer a minimum of $25 each month.

Why should Ohio families be left, to fend for themselves, year after year, without sufficient, paid professionals to combat simmering crises and unexposed violence in their midst?

With the failure of HB 243, Psychological Evaluation of Youngsters Convicted of Animal Cruelty, some children that have seen or experienced violence themselves will remain unseen and unknown, defenseless against brutality in their own homes.

Additionally, these same youngsters may be using the animal cruelty as a “practice” act before they move on to human victims. Violence can pass in families from one generation to the next, unless there is outside intervention. Why should Ohio’s youngsters have to continue to witness violence and bear unjust punishments alone and in silence?

Most of the school shooters practiced on animals before they entered their schools, armed with guns, intent on widespread killing. Why aren’t adjudicated youngsters with known histories of torturing and killing animals, who have demonstrated a propensity to violence, not evaluated and treated?

The families, neighbors, and classmates of these same youngsters are living, unprotected, with a thinly veiled danger in the midst.

With the failure of HB 251, Flexible Sentencing for Judges, Ohio judges will continue to seek community sanctions, instead of prison time, for some F-4 and F-5 convicted offenders, as is required by current law.   Why should Ohio families sustain convicted offenders, who know how to game the system to avoid incarceration, simply paying a fine, then quickly returning to their criminal vices within their neighborhoods? 

With the failure of HB 310, PTSD Merits Service Animals, individuals suffering from PTSD, often our honored veterans of Middle East wars, will remain unrecognized, struggling for their own independence.  Why can’t an Ohio PTSD sufferer be awarded a service animal to get his mobility and his life back?  

With the failure of  SB 177, Domestic Violence and Pet Protection Orders,  women, children, and pets in homes of domestic violence will be denied a safe, early exit from the home.  Twenty-nine other states (plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico) already have enacted this law.  Why should a woman in Ohio have to choose between her own safety and the safety of her dog?

With the failure of SB 217, Veterinary Hospital Inspections, pet owners remain unprotected consumers.  Right now in Ohio veterinarians are basically “on the honor system”.   Neither the Board of Health nor the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board is making “surprise inspections” to check on the hygiene,  to see if the equipment is working, to monitor the protocols, or to verify correct record-keeping.  Why do Ohio pet owners not have the same quality control checks of their animal hospitals as other states offer to their pet owners?

With the failure of these seven bills, each aiming to protect cats and dogs, there is a obvious grave, human loss, as well.  Ohio’s most vulnerable populations are left, unprotected by law, from violence.  Ohio’s pet owners remain without consumer protections.  Ohio’s families continue to endure savvy offenders continuing their vices within their neighborhoods.  

Ohio, write to your state senator and to your state representative today in support of these important bills.  There are just eighteen sessions left in this General Assembly.  Without diligent, legislative attention, these bills will continue to linger and die, as has happened in General Assemblies before.

Each Ohio voter has one state senator and one state representative.  You can locate your two, state legislators by typing in your zip code plus your four-digit extension in the bottom, left-hand corner of each linked, home page below.

FINAL NOTE:  Only one of these bills, SB 177, passed.  All the rest languished and died.

http://www.ohiohouse.gov/ (Locate your state rep.)

http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senate/index (Locate your state senator.)