Tag Archives: Nitro’s Law

Is your state rep a humane legislator?

Paws and the Law is proud to endorse

these humane legislators …

The single, most important act you can take to curb animal cruelty and neglect is to VOTE SMART!  Vote for HUMANE LEGISLATORS that have a proven, voting record of sponsoring / cosponsoring and voting for good, companion animal bills and voting against bad ones.

Here are the humane legislators, currently serving in the House of Representatives.  The newer representatives are not included since they do not have a significant voting record yet.  Some candidates on your November 8 ballot have no voting records because they have not been elected yet.

Please VOTE SMART for HUMANE LEGISLATORS on November 8.  All 99 House seats and half of the 33 Senate seats will be on the ballot. These are the Columbus decision makers who vote for (or against) our companion animal laws.

Find your state rep and your state senator by filling in BOTH boxes (zip code PLUS four-digit extension) at the link below.

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

Candidates running for office have both a web site and a Facebook page.  Why not call them or message them on their web page or on Facebook?  Ask them which companion animal bills they have voted for in the past.  Ask what their position is on an animal cruelty registry, animal fighting, and felony for animal cruelty.

Be sure to share what you have learned with your family and friends before November 8!

Because of our heavily gerrymandered districts in Ohio, the November winners for our Senate and House will be largely determined in March. Yet, that does not mean that we should not try!

Thank you for VOTING SMART!

 Marlene Anielski (R ) 

Nickie J. Antonio (D)

Michael D. Ashford (D) 

John E. Barnes (D) 

Heather Bishoff (D)

Louis Blessing (R) 

Kristin Boggs (D) 

Janine Boyd (D) 

Tim Brown (R )

 Jim Butler (R ) 

Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D) 

 Jack Cera (D) 

Kathleen Clyde (D) 

Margaret Conditt (R )  

Bob Cupp (R ) 

Anthony DeVitis (R ) 

Mike Duffey (R ) 

Tim Ginter (R ) 

Anne Gonzales (R ) 

Doug Green (R ) 

Christina M. Hagan (R ) 

Stephanie Howse (D)

Jim Hughes (R)

Terry A. Johnson (R )

Al Landis (R ) 

Michele Lepore-Hagan (D) 

John Patterson (D) 

Rick Perales (R ) …

Dan Ramos (D) 

Alicia Reece (D) 

Wes Retherford (R ) 

John M. Rogers (D) 

Mark Romanchuk (R ) 

Cliff Rosenberger (R )

Gary K. Scherer (R ) …

Kirk Schuring (R) 

Michael Sheehy (D)

Marilyn Slaby (R)  

Kent Smith (D) 

Ryan Smith (R )

Robert Cole Sprague (R )

Fred Strahorn (D) 

Ron Young (R ) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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.

Ohio needs laws with teeth to combat animal cruelty and interpersonal violence

What is felony animal cruelty in Ohio?

There are two, specific times in Ohio law when animal abuse is a felony.  In the first example, the animal abuser must be convicted of animal cruelty TWICE before he faces a felony conviction.  The first time that offender is convicted it is only a misdemeanor.  This felony for second abuse conviction has been seldom used.

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,” named after the beautiful Rottweiler that died in a Youngstown kennel of starvation and neglect.

MOST animal abuse is a misdemeanor in Ohio. That means that the maximum sentence for intentional animal cruelty, causing extreme suffering, possibly death to an animal is six months in jail and one thousand dollars in fine.

What happens to convicted animal abusers at sentencing?

At sentencing, the convicted animal abuser often pays a fine, gets probation, AND he gets his animal returned to him.

Here is a bizarre example of Ohio, animal cruelty.  In 2013, Elizabeth Lewis, 19, of Hamilton, Ohio faced animal cruelty charges with the same dog, Bruiser, for the second time in less than a year. Ms. Lewis appeared both times for her animal cruelty charges in the courtroom of the same judge, Hamilton Municipal Court Judge Daniel Gattermeyer.

Bruiser, her pit bull, was found nearly starved to death each time.  The first time the judge found Ms. Lewis not guilty of animal cruelty and returned Bruiser to Ms. Lewis.

The second time, a neighbor saw the emaciated, weakened Bruiser fall down some steps. She then called the police to intervene.

Lewis was charged with cruelty to a companion animal and failure to license a dog. These are both misdemeanors.

In his second ruling, the judge admitted “the dog did suffer”.  He sentenced Lewis to of 180 days in the Butler County Jail but suspended 90 days.

“Lewis was also placed on two years of community control, ordered to get her GED, not to have pets, and to pay a $500 fine. The judge reminded her if she did not show up for jail, she would serve the entire 180 days.”

Why don’t Ohio judges send convicted animal abusers to prison?

Ohio prisons are dangerously overcrowded and have been for quite a while.  Since the passage of HB 86 in 2011, Ohio judges are mandated to seek community sanctions (no prison) for certain nonviolent F-4 and F-5 offenders.  Animal abusers are considered by law to be nonviolent.

So, even if the current HB 60, ‘Goddard’s Law’ is enacted, animal abusers still will not be sent to prison.  The judges will continue to follow their mandate to look for community sanctions instead of prison.

HB 60, ‘Goddard’s Law’, felony for animal cruelty, has been severely damaged

HB 60, ‘Goddard’s Law’, as introduced, recognizes the complexity of animal cruelty and offers justice for animals that suffer or die from intentional acts of abuse.

However, the excellent intent of the bill has been recently, severely damaged with an amendment.  The amendment was added on June 9, 2015, just two weeks before the full House vote.

The amendment (“A humane society … shall not employ an attorney … to prosecute a felony”) does not allow humane societies to employ animal law attorneys for FELONY animal cruelty.  The humane societies must use the county prosecutors for FELONY animal cruelty cases.

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 prosecute more FELONY animal crimes as misdemeanors.

This will have a chilling effect on the future felony prosecution of animal cruelty cases. This unintended effect alone for me is worth stopping the bill.

Why the county prosecutor may not be as good as the animal law attorney

What happens when the already overworked, county prosecutor gets an animal crime case with no potential, 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 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.

Animal crime is the ‘red flag’ that others too may be in danger

An immediate responsibility of Ohio legislators is to safeguard our communities against the raging, epidemic violence.

The powerful connections among interpersonal violence, animal cruelty, and some, mental illness are well researched.  The recognition of that nasty web has been effecting rapid, legislative change 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 useful prong in Ohio’s defense against sinister forces at work, hidden in plain sight, in our communities.

 

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

http://archives.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_HB_86   (Read HB 86 here.)

http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/hamilton-woman-sentenced-in-animal-cruelty-case/nYNyY/

 

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

 

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.)

 

Proponent Testimony of Mike Smeck

                                                       HOUSE BILL 60

                 PROPONENT TESTIMONY OF Mike Smeck, Representative

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., Paws and the Law, Matt Ditchey, Esq. (Angels for Animals)  

                                                      May 26, 2015

                  House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee

Good morning Chairman Hill and Members of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. My name is Mike Smeck and I currently reside with my family in Amherst, Ohio (Lorain county). I am here today speaking on behalf of the following seven grassroots animal welfare organizations: 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., Paws and the Law and Matt Ditchey, Esq. (Angels for Animals) as a proponent for Ohio House Bill 60 as introduced in the 131st Ohio General Assembly.

Representing over 67,000 constituents across 72 Ohio counties, our seven 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 Representatives Patmon and Hall for their leadership in sponsoring this important piece of legislation for Ohioans.

Companion animal cruelty is viewed as a serious issue by law enforcement and mental health professionals, who recognize the strong link between companion animal abuse and human violence. While Ohio’s humane ranking has improved over the past four years with the passage of House Bill 14 in the 129th Ohio General Assembly and Nitro’s Law as an amendment to House Bill 59 in the 130th Ohio General Assembly, when we look closely at our cruelty statute it remains rather weak in comparison to other states across the country.

We also feel strongly that as we continue to make headway on the opiate issue, we will see new trends — and conversation is suggesting this is already happening — of people who harm companion animals in order to obtain a prescription for an opiate with no intent to provide that level of care to the companion animal, but instead use the narcotic personally or sell it for profit.

Given these concerns, our coalition firmly believes the passage of HB 60 as introduced would represent the emergence of a statewide consensus that egregious abuse against a companion animal should be treated as a serious crime. Although there is much more work left to be done, to enact a felony provision for companion animal cruelty beyond Nitro’s Law would mark a significant milestone in an undeniable trend favoring increased penalties for those who commit profound, intentional acts of serious physical injury against all companion animals, to include dogs regardless of where they may be kept.

It is our hope this Committee will reflect on the opinions expressed by our seven groups and their supporters in today’s testimony prior to recommending Ohio House Bill 60 as introduced for review and passage by the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. As the representative for 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., Paws and the Law and Matt Ditchey, Esq. (Angels for Animals), I greatly appreciate your time and consideration on this important piece of legislation for Ohioans, and I welcome any questions you may have.