MAR/APR 99: DOG AND CAT OWNERS OPPOSE SAME OLD OHIO CRUELTY BILL
By: Norma Bennett Woolf Date: 01/9/2012 Category: | Animal Legislation | Canine Issues | Shelter Issues |
In 1998, Ohio HB 437, an anti-cruelty bill supported by the Humane Society of the US, was referred to the House Agriculture Committee after a floor fight over provisions denying due process to animal owners, and there it died when the session ended at the end of the year.
The new session was barely a month old when Representative Patrick Tiberi introduced the same bill as HB 108 and promoted it to the members of the Criminal Justice Committee. Tiberi began immediately to hear from dog and cat fanciers, and he agreed to a meeting with these groups on February 23. At that meeting, attended by representatives from Ohio Valley Dog Owners Inc. and the Cat Fancier's Association, he agreed to put the bill on hold until his staff could investigate fanciers concerns on several issues and said he would drop some sections of the bill outright if fanciers would work with him to upgrade the state's antiquated cruelty statutes. Like many bills proposed by animal rights activists throughout the country, the Ohio bill raises some animal cruelty offenses to felonies, separates offenses against animals kept as pets and mascots from those against livestock, allows impoundment of animals without a warrant, requires pre-trial payment of expenses for impounded animals, permits forfeiture of animals if the owner cannot or will not make pretrial payments, and contains language that could jeopardize customary animal husbandry practices such as ear cropping and tail docking.
Current Ohio law does not require that humane agents have any qualifications before hiring or any training to carry out the duties under the state's cruelty statutes. Fanciers asked Tiberi to put training requirements in the bill, but the representative said he was reluctant to propose any new budget items either to be funded by the state or to mandate funding by the counties. However, OVDO proposed a nonprofit foundation administered by the state to pay for training. The foundation would receive fine money from cruelty convictions and donations from animal organizations, animal-related businesses, and individuals. The standards would require that agents receive specified training in the law, legal procedure, and animal husbandry. The representative said that he would have his legislative aide research the idea. Fanciers are also working on alternatives to HB 108 and plan to meet further with Tiberi and other legislators to draft an effective and fair bill to protect Ohio's animals and animal owners.
About The Author
All Authors Of This Article: | Norma Bennett Woolf |