Sub SB 215, the “Good Samaritan” bill, was hit out of the ball park yesterday by the Ohio House Judiciary Committee vote, 13 – 0. It was already on base, ready for action! The Senate had unanimously passed it. It is now rounding the bases and is headed for home plate!
Sub SB 215 allows individuals to rescue children and pets in danger in unattended vehicles. This bill can save lives, children’s and pets’. Individuals that break a window or forcibly enter a parked car to rescue a child or a pet in danger, are immune from civil damages, provided that they take certain, common sense measures.
These reasonable measures are: (1) Determine the vehicle is locked. (2) Believe the child or the pet is in danger. (3) Call 9-1-1, the police, or the fire department before entering the car. (4) Place a note on the windshield with contact information, the reason the entry was made, the location of the child or pet, and stating that authorities have been notified. (5) Remain with the child or pet until authorities arrive. (6) Use no more force than necessary to break into the vehicle.
On the other hand, Sub SB 215 is also a far-sighted bill that anticipates that a person who is “recklessness or willful … with regard to the forcible entry of the motor vehicle” will not be exempt from damages.
There are at least twenty-two states (AZ, CA, DE, FL, IL, ME, MI, MD, MN, NB, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, NV, OK, PA, RI, SD, TN, UT, VT, WA, and WV) with legislation that specifically prohibits leaving an animal or a child in a confined vehicle, in conditions which endanger the life of the animal or child, like lack of adequate ventilation or extreme temperatures.
Cars can be deathtraps for children and pets. In 2014, there were 32 children nationwide who died horrendous deaths in hot cars, according to the organization Kids and Cars. Additionally, pets can suffer heatstroke and brain damage in minutes in a hot car or be impaired by frost bite and hypothermia, leading to their deaths, in a frigid car.
Last year in Cincinnati, where I live, there were two reports of animals dying in vehicles. One dog died a terrible death, trapped in a sweltering car in Clifton in the summer. A second dog died overnight in plummeting temperatures, left in the back of an SPCA van. Additionally, there was an eight-month old infant that died in a hot car in a parking lot in Central Ohio, last summer, while her mother shopped.
(Read Sub SB 215 at the link.)
Sub SB 215, “Good Samaritan” bill is now in effect in Ohio!
Newark, Ohio City Council voted to ban BDL!
When Newark passes an ordinance to protect its dogs and to safeguard its community, dogs and their families across the nation also gain. Awareness grows. Momentum increases.
Do you have 10 minutes each week to curb animal cruelty and neglect? Please join Paws and the Law’s humane community. We work together across Ohio to advance state and local initiatives. Your part is easy. You can even work from the comfort of your home.
Paws and the Law closely follows legislative initiatives for companion animals. When a critical point, like a hearing or a vote is about to happen, you will receive contact information for important decision makers and a sample script. You, of course, can use your own narrative. Can you give 10 – 15 minutes a week, working from home, to work against animal cruelty?
If so, PM Beth Sheehan with your e-mail address today.
A list of the current, companion animal bills in the Ohio General Assembly follows. Most of our bills languish and die in the Ohio Senate. The 131st General Assembly ends on December 31, 2016. All bill not passed then, will have to be reintroduced in the next GA.
But if we all do whatever we can, where we are, together we will be an awesome force for good for our beloved cats and dogs.
BILLS in the 131st GENERAL ASSEMBLY
1. HB 45 – Humane Officer Training SUPPORT
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”
(NOTE – The humane officer has 20 hours of special training in how to approach and to analyze an animal crime scene. Additionally, HB 45 gets rid of the residency requirement. Right now a humane officer can only work in the county in which he lives. By getting rid of the residency requirement, the same amount of officers can spread out to additional counties to investigate animal cruelty.
Finally, many, Ohio counties, especially rural ones, have no humane officer.)
2. HB 60 – “Goddard’s Law”, felony for animal cruelty – ENACTED
(NOTE – Read linked blog for an explanation of possible, unintended consequences of amendment.)
Sponsors: Representatives Bill Patmon and David Hall
Cosponsors: Representatives Nickie J. Antonio, Tim W. Brown, John Patterson, Marilyn Slaby, Sarah LaTourette, Cheryl Grossman, Janine R. Boyd, Jack Cera, John Barnes, David Leland, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Debbie Phillips, Michael Sheehy, Mark Romanchuk, Louis W. Blessing, Margaret Ann Ruhl, Marlene Anielski, Mike Ashford, Nan Baker, Nicholas J. Celebrezze, Mike Dovilla, Denise Driehaus, Teresa Fedor, Bob Hackett, Stephen Hambley, Michael Henne, Stephanie D. Howse, Greta Johnson, Terry Johnson, Michael O’Brien, Sean O’Brien, Dorothy Pelanda, Dan Ramos, John Rogers, Kirk Schuring, Barbara Sears, Stephen Slesnick, Kent Smith, Marting Sweeney
Summary – “to revise provisions and penalties regarding treatment of companion animals, to revise the definition of “companion animal” in the Offenses Relating to Domestic Animals Law, and to provide a state collaborative effort to assist veterinarians in identifying clients who may use their animals to secure opioids for abuse”
(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.)
4. HB 121 – Service Dog Awareness Week – ENACTED
Sponsors: Representatives Michael Stinziano and Margaret Ann Ruhl
Cosponsors: Representatives Ron Amstutz, Nicholas Celebrezze, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Debbie Phillips, Jeffery Rezabek, Ronald V. Gerberry, Cheryl Grossman, Bob Hackett, Stephen Slesnick, Martin Sweeney, Sarah LaTourette, Nickie J. Antonio, Nan A. Baker, Andrew Brenner, Thomas E. Brinkman, Tim W. Brown, Jim Buchy, Hearcel F. Craig, Robert R. Cupp, Timothy Derickson, Denise Driehaus, Teresa Fedor, Timothy E. Ginter, Christina Hagan, David Hall, Stephen Hambley, Brian Hill, Greta Johnson, Terry Johnson, Christie Bryant Kuhns, Stephanie Kunze, Al Landis, David Leland, Michael O’Brien, Sean O’Brien, Rick Perales, Dan Ramos, John Rogers, Mark Romanchuk, Tim Schaffer, Barbara Sears, Michael Sheehy, Marilyn Slaby, Kent Smith, Robert Sprague, Emilia Strong Sykes, Ron Young
Summary – “to designate the last week of July as ‘Service Dog Awareness Week’”
(NOTE – HB 121 highlights the unique skills a service animal provides to his owner so that the owner is able to become more independent and mobile in his own life. It also informs business owners of the rights the service animal and his owner have when they enter their places of business.)
5. HB 187 – First Responders May Give First Aid to Pets – ENACTED
Sponsor: Representative Timothy Ginter
Cosponsors: Representatives Sarah LaTourette, Blessing III, Schaffer, Vitale, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Margaret Ruhl, Becker, Steve Hambley
Summary – “to authorize a first responder, emergency medical technician-basic, emergency medical technician-intermediate, emergency medical technician-paramedic, or volunteer firefighter to stabilize an injured animal in an emergency”
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-187 (Read HB 187 here.)
(NOTE – HB 187 clearly defines what first responders may do on behalf of our pets in a crisis, such as a fire or a car accident. They may provide oxygen to a stressed animal or a splint to his injured leg before the animal goes to a veterinarian.)
6. HB 198 – Special Prosecutors OPPOSED
(NOTE – Read linked, opponent testimony of Matt Ditchey, representative of eight, Ohio grassroots groups. http://pawsandthelawblog.com/?p=367)
Sponsors : Representatives Steve Hambley and Greta Johnson
Summary – “to abolish the humane society’s authority to employ an attorney to prosecute certain violations of law dealing with animal cruelty or acts involving mistreatment or nonsupport of children”
Status: Referred to House Judiciary committee
Click here to view the full text of the bill as introduced in the House – > https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-198
7. HB 215 – Animal Fighting SUPPORT
Sponsors: Representatives Barbara Sears and Heather Bishoff
Cosponsors: Representatives Cheryl Grossman, Brian Hill, Steven Kraus, Sarah LaTourette, David Leland, Robert McColley, Debbie Phillips, Michael Sheehy, Michael Stinziano
Summary – “to prohibit and establish an increased penalty for knowingly engaging in activities associated with cockfighting, bearbaiting, or pitting an animal against another”
Status – Passed out of House in February of 2016
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-215 (Read HB 215 here.)
8. House Bill No. 278 – County Humane Societies – OPPOSE
Sponsor: Representative Steve Hambley
Summary – “to require approval by the board of county commissioners, instead of the probate judge, of appointments of agents by county humane societies outside a municipal corporation, to specify that a county humane society is a political subdivision, to make its directors, agents, officers, and employees subject to the Ethics Law, and to increase the salaries paid to the agents.”
Status: Referred to Government Accountability and Oversight Committee
(Read HB 278 here.)
9. House Bill No. 447 – Killing Police Animal
Sponsors: Representatives Kirk Schuring and Stephen Slesnick
Summary – to prohibit a person from intentionally killing a police dog or horse in the line of duty.
Status: Referred to State Government committee
(Read HB 447 here.)
10. House Bill 450 – Officer May Purchase His Police Animal
Sponsors: Representatives Andy Thompson and Dave Hall
Summary – to authorize a law enforcement officer to purchase a police dog or horse for one dollar when the officer retires in good standing from a law enforcement agency
Status: Referred to State Government Committee
(Read HB 450 here.)
11. HB 573 – Dogs Sold in Pet Stores – OPPOSE
12. SB 151, “The Klonda Richey Act” INTERESTED
Sponsor: Senator Bill Beagle
Cosponsor: Senator Peggy Lehner
Summary – “to define nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dogs, to revise enforcement of that Law, and to establish a notification process regarding complaints of certain violations of that law”
Status – State and Local Government Committee
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-151 (Read SB 151 here.)
13. Senate Bill No. 195 – Bestiality – INTERESTED
Sponsors: Senators Jim Hughes and Sen. Jay Hottinger
Cosponsors: Senators Kenny Yuko, Frank LaRose, Sandra R. Williams
Summary – “to prohibit a person from engaging in sexual conduct with an animal and related acts, to provide for the seizure and impoundment of an animal that is the subject of a violation, and to authorize a sentencing court to require an offender to undergo psychological evaluation or counseling.”
Status: Referred to Criminal Justice committee
(Read SB 195 here.)
14. SB 215 – “Good Samaritan” – ENACTED
Sponsors: Senators Jim Hughes and Frank LaRose
Cosponsors: Senators Joe Uecker, Kevin Bacon, Bill Beagle, Dave Burke, Bill Coley, Randy Gardner, Cliff Hite, Jay Hottinger, Shannon Jones, Kris Jordan, Peggy Lehner, Gayle Mannning, Larry Obhof, Tom Patton, Tom Sawyer, Joe Schiavoni, Charleta B. Tavares, Cecil Thomas, Kenny Yuko
Summary – to allow individuals to rescue a pet or a child in danger in an unattended vehicle without liability
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-votes?id=GA131-SB-215 (Read SB 215 here.)
15. Senate Bill 271 – Purchase Police Animal – INTERESTED
Sponsor: Sen. Lou Gentile
Summary – “to authorize a law enforcement officer to purchase a police dog or horse for fair market value when the officer retires in good standing from a law enforcement agency and certain conditions are met.”
Status: Referred to Agriculture Committee
17. Senate Bill 286 – Killing Police Animal – INTERESTED
Sponsor: Sen. Jim Hughes
Summary – “to modify the penalty for assaulting a police dog or horse to require, if the dog or horse is killed, a mandatory prison term and a mandatory fine to be paid to the law enforcement agency served by the dog or horse.”
Status: Passed out of House committee
18. SB 331 – Dogs Sold in Pet Stores – OPPOSE
Status: Voted out of Senate
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.
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 )