Posts Tagged ‘ohio animal welfare laws’

Ohio House Passes Critical Puppy Mill Bill: SB130

Posted on November 15th, 2012

ASPCA encouraged by passage of SB 130,
Requires commercial dog breeding facilities to be licensed, inspected

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) yesterday applauded the Ohio House of Representatives for passing Senate Bill 130 by a vote of 89-5. This bill is crucial and something that I have talked about multiple times before on the blog, requiring commercial dog breeding facilities to be licensed and inspected for the first time in the state’s history.

The ASPCA had worked to strengthen the bill, recommending that critical provisions which had previously been removed from the bill, be reinstated.

“The Ohio General Assembly has been considering various puppy mill bills for over six years,” said Vicki Deisner, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Midwest region. “Ohio has taken a critical step today by regulating commercial breeders, which will improve the living conditions of breeding dogs destined to spend their whole lives in these barren, commercial breeding facilities.”

Sponsored by Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus), SB 130 unanimously passed in the Ohio Senate last February. While the Senate version of the bill contained many strong provisions, the current version has been stripped of several of the vital requirements that would most improve the lives of Ohio’s puppy mill dogs.

The ASPCA had recommended to the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee that every breeding dog receive a hands-on veterinary exam once a year, and that facility inspections be performed by state-level inspectors only.

“In order to ensure that all breeding dogs are healthy and safe, each dog should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign.

“In its current form, SB 130 does not require this, but the legislation is still a step in the right direction. We look forward to eventually working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to ensure more humane standards of care are instituted.”

Ohio has become a haven for puppy mill operators, which is why in addition to its legislative work, the ASPCA has focused part of its national “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign on the Columbus area.

The campaign aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers to pledge not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—from stores or websites that sell puppies.

Last year, a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners revealed that while 86 percent of Columbus-area residents would not purchase puppies if they knew they came from puppy mills, 74 percent of Columbus area residents are unaware that most puppies sold in pet stores come from them.

The ASPCA believes that convincing consumers not to shop for anything, including puppies, at pet stores that sell puppies is a necessary part of stopping the demand for puppy mill dogs.

To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to eradicate puppy mills, please visit www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.

The ASPCA is not the only group concerned with what is going on here in Ohio, my home state (I live on the lake in Cleveland, about two hours north of Columbus.)

Several other groups have slaved for years on petitions, awareness, etc doing very honorable work to ensure Ohio citizens are aware. And though their work may not specifically be about SB 130, we Ohio animal welfare groups support one another, helping each other to spread each other’s work, “liking” things on Facebook, and writing, Tweeting, and Pinning where ever asked.

The Humane Society of the United States was also applauding Ohio yesterday; they were involved in the passage of this SB130 as well – their heavy lobbying efforts undoubtedly had an effect. They noted in a press release yesterday that Ohio is one of 22 states with no regulation or oversight of commercial high volume breeding kennels.

“S.B. 130 is the product of careful consideration, intense labor and a spirit of cooperation,” said State Rep. Dave Hall, Chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “Thanks to Senator Hughes, we had a good base. I’m pleased to say that the House Agriculture Committee was able to work with both sides of this issue to clarify and strengthen certain aspects that were critical for its passage. We were able to find that elusive ‘middle ground.’ As someone whose family has taken care of several rescue pets, I can say with confidence that this bill’s passage is a major victory for all Ohio dog lovers.”

Other local groups involved include Columbus Top Dogs, which works on many fundraisers and local issues, the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions, which works tirelessly on banning the awful auctions which purport the puppy mill problem, and the Nitro Foundation, which is currently working assiduously to amend legislation and make a first-time offense of animal cruelty a felony in Ohio. Currently, Ohio is one of only 4 states where a first count of animal cruelty is a misdemeanor. Offenders rarely get more than a measly slap on the wrist, fine and warning for doing things like beating, burning and killing dogs and cats.

If I missed your organization, please share in the comments. But A HUGE CONGRATS goes out from ThoughtsFurPaws to ALL involved in the passing of SB130 in both the Senate and the House finally. A rousing “thank you” also goes out to my legislators – now please listen to us animal welfare advocates on the other issues we’ve been writing and calling about, ie HB 108!

We have been waiting for years as you will see from the old blog posts (search Puppy Mills, or Animal Welfare Ohio SB 130).

I will soon be writing another post on this because many small time breeders and rescues feel this bill is a burden.

Stay tuned to read their perspective…

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Animal Welfare Org.s Praise OH Governor Kasich for Signing Dangerous Wild Animal Act into Law

Posted on June 9th, 2012

Ohio now joins majority of states in restricting private ownership of dangerous exotic wildlife

The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA® and Born Free USA issued statements in response to Ohio Gov. John Kasich enacting the Dangerous Wild Animal Act into law this past week.

Introduced by state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, the bill was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives by a vote of 87 to 9 on May 22, and the Ohio Senate by a 30 to 1 vote in April.

Wild Tiger Courtesy Born Free USA

With Gov. Kasich’s signature, there remain only six states with little to no restrictions on the private possession of dangerous wild animals—Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS stated, “Common sense, rather than tragedy, should drive public policy decisions, but sometimes it takes a high-profile event to focus the attention of lawmakers on issues not in the headlines.”

“For all the states that have not adopted sensible policies on private ownership of dangerous exotics, the grim drama that played out in Zanesville should provide all of the evidence

Courtesy HSUS (cropped)

they need to get cracking and adopt strict and sensible policies. We are grateful to Governor Kasich and the legislature for standing firm on this issue, and working to protect animal welfare and public safety,” Pacelle continued.

“The ASPCA commends Gov. Kasich for recognizing the need to regulate dangerous exotic animals and ensuring the safety of Ohio residents, as well as the health and well-being of wild animals kept as pets,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations.

“Safety should always be the paramount concern of lawmakers, and having dangerous exotic animals in our communities, without any regulation or restrictions, threatens us all and the animals pay the ultimate price.”

Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA added, “Today marks a strong—and long overdue—step forward in protecting exotics and Ohioans from the dangerous and inhumane ‘pet’ wildlife trade. Born Free USA knows the cruel effects of the trade firsthand. Many of our Primate Sanctuary residents were rescued from abusive situations in which they were forced into captivity as someone’s pet.”

“There is an epidemic in this country of owning wild animals as ‘pets’ and it must stop. As documented by Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents Database, numerous incidents involving death and injuries to humans from captive ‘pets’ occur regularly and nationwide. We commend Governor Kasich for signing this urgently needed public safety and animal welfare measure into law, and we urge other states to follow suit.”

The new law will:

•    Ban new ownership of dangerous wild animals, including big cats, some smaller exotic cats, bears, hyenas, gray wolves, non-human primate species, alligators and crocodiles in Ohio;

•    Grandfather existing animals so people who currently have them can keep them, as long as they obtain a permit;

•    Require owners of exotic animals covered under the grandfather clause to acquire liability insurance or surety bonds ranging from $200,000 to $1 million;

•    Require existing owners of exotic animals to comply with housing and safety standards that will be established by the Ohio Department of Agriculture; and

•    Require criminal background checks to qualify for a permit for owners of existing exotic animals.

The exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes to the suffering of millions of animals, often threatening public health and safety, disrupting ecosystems and driving species to endangerment and extinction.

Each year across the nation, countless numbers of exotic animals are purchased as pets at retail stores and from private breeders and dealers at auctions or over the Internet. Since the vast majority of people who keep exotic animals cannot meet their needs, the animals often become the victims of abuse and neglect—they are caged, chained, tranquilized or even beaten into submission.

HISTORY MADE IN OHIO TODAY with Senate Sub HB-14 Pasing: Pit Bulls Removed from State’s Vicious Dog Law

Posted on January 31st, 2012

Current law defines a “vicious dog” as one that, without provocation, has seriously injured a person, has killed another dog, or is of the general breed known as “pit bull.” Among numerous other changes, the bill drops the reference to “pit bull” from that definition.

BUT THE SENATE has PASSED SUB-HB 14 –THEY’VE LISTENED TO US!

They’ve honored constituent wishes and REMOVED PIT BULLS from the VICIOUS DOG LAW!

Watch for yourself near the 45-minute mark here (!):

The House overwhelmingly supported the bill, House Bill 14, in June, and will now have to concur with the Senate’s amended version in order for it become law.

Courtesy Best Friends Animal Society: a Happy Pittie, as it SHOULD BE

The measure notes that the label doesn’t include a police dog that has injured a person or has killed another dog while assisting law enforcement officials.

See fantastic and/or other controversial editorial coverage pre- and post-vote at the following papers/sites:
1. The Cleveland Leader: “Ohio Senate Passes Bill to End “Vicious” Pit Bull Label”
2. Northwest Ohio: “Ohio law defining pit bulls as vicious could soon be changed”
3. Cleveland.com: “Pit Bull Bill Passes Ohio Senate: Measure Would Remove Vicious Dog Label”
4. Cincinnati.com: “OH Senate Ks bill to end ‘vicious’ pit bull label’
5. Toledo Blade: “Ohio’s pit bull label heads to Senate for vote”

From The Blade:

“House Bill 14 would limit “vicious dog” strictly to one that has seriously injured a person. It is expected that such an animal would be confiscated and euthanized.

The bill also redefines the lesser classification of “dangerous dog” to apply to one that, without provocation, has caused some injury to a person, killed another dog, or is a three-time offender under a new minimum classification of “nuisance dog.”

A nuisance dog would be one that, without provocation and while off the premises of its keeper, has chased, menacingly approached, or attempted to bite a person.

Supporters of the bill argue that this would put problem dogs on the radar screen of dog wardens earlier. But opponents say that, in the case of the “pit bull,” the dog will likely have already injured someone before it is upgraded to “dangerous dog” and the owners are forced to obtain liability insurance.

Owners of dangerous dogs must have proof of such coverage; register with the county auditor at a cost of $50; affix a tag identifying the dog as dangerous; notify the local dog warden whenever the animal gets loose, bites a person or another animal while off the owner’s property or a nontrespasser on the owner’s property, and notify the dog warden of the transfer of ownership or death of the dog.

Before sending the bill to the floor, the committee amended it to make it clear that the burden of proof when classifying a dog is on the dog warden, not the dog owner.

The committee’s chairman, Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills), also made a last-minute change at the request of Gov. John Kasich’s office, which is preparing legislation to reduce what it sees as barriers to those convicted of crimes putting their lives back together after paying their dues.

“One of the concerns that they had brought up with this bill was the fact that there was a 10-year prohibition for felons’ possession of [certain dogs],” he said. “This reduces that collateral sanction down to three after release.”

Another amendment was designed to make it clear that this prohibition would not apply to prison inmates involved in dog-training programs.”

*** On a separate note, I wanted to tell you I found that dog wardens are opposing the measure statewide because of frequent pit bull attacks…

Congratulations to Ohioans who worked on this campaign, making phone calls and bothering other people to do so (ME)

And THANK YOU to government group members like Dennis Kucinich ( D-10th) and Betty Sutton (D-13th)

THE SENATE has PASSED SUB-HB 14!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They’ve honored constituent wishes and REMOVED PIT BULLS from the VICIOUS DOG LAW!

Advocate for an Exotic Animal Ban in Ohio: Tell Kasich to Sign the Law

Posted on October 19th, 2011

How many incidents must we catalogue before OHIO legislators take action to crack down on private ownership of dangerous exotic animals?

Since 2003, the Humane Society of the United States has documented 22 incidents in Ohio.

Urge Gov. John Kasich to finally address this issue with an emergency rule that restricts the sale and possession of dangerous exotics»

What’s happening in Zanesville — where about 50 wild animals escaped the private menagerie of a man previously convicted of animal cruelty — could’ve likely been prevented if the

Image Courtesy HSUS

state would stop private citizens from buying and selling big cats, bears, wolves, primates, and other dangerous animals. It is unfortunate that local authorities have had to spend tremendous resources on personnel and equipment to respond to incidents that could’ve easily been prevented.

And it is most certainly tragic that these exotic creatures are being killed in order to protect public safety.

The state can save lives — human and animal — by having strong rules in place to restrict people from acquiring dangerous exotics. Please tell the governor to regulate private ownership of dangerous wild animals»

With some of the weakest exotic pet laws in the nation, Ohio has become a haven for breeders and dealers of wild animals. Keeping exotics in backyards and basements has ended in tragedy time and time again—as we’re sadly witnessing with the recent incident in Zanesville.

Restricting the trade and ownership of wild animals is clearly a benefit to the health and welfare of the animals, and to the safety of all Ohio citizens.

TAKE ACTION NOW
Please make a brief, polite phone call to Gov. John Kasich at (614) 466-3555 and urge him to make the ban on dangerous exotic animals permanent. You can say: “Please restrict the private possession of dangerous wild animals.”

After making your call (please do not skip that crucial step!), fill in and submit the form linked here to send a follow-up message to Gov. Kasich. Be sure to edit your message so it stands out and is personalized. Tell them how you really feel (but be polite, don’t attack anyone, and don’t name-call or threaten or anything).

UPDATE:

The ASPCA has just sent an emergency order to Kasich AND the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to restric the sale and possession of exotic pets. On the 6 pm news tonight, they announced that 50 animals, including giraffes, cheetahs, lions, monkeys, wolves and grizzly bears, had been shot to death as they were released (by the owner – who then shot himself) into a highly residential neighborhood.

One of the big cats got hit on the Interstate, and there was even a CAMEL shot because of this debacle.

This is outrageous.

Well-known animal expert and Columbus Zoo director emeritus, Jack Hanna is helping with the hunt. Hanna says he has received a lot of complaints from animal groups, criticizing the police on shooting and killing some of the animals. Hanna says law enforcement had to do what they had to do to protect human life.

Hanna has been very vocal on the state’s animal laws. “I will do anything I can over my dead body to put these people out of business, to shut these auctions down,” said Hanna. He went on to say he doesn’t want to shut everyone down. There are good breeders out there.

Ohio has no rules regulating the sale and ownership of exotic animals. Hanna says he talked with the governor’s office today and plans to meet with Governor John Kasich today and tomorrow to talk about stricter animal laws.

According to the ASPCA, the exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes to the suffering of millions of animals, often threatening public health and safety, disrupting ecosystems and driving species to endangerment and extinction. Each year across the nation, countless numbers of exotic animals are purchased as pets at retail stores and from private breeders and dealers at auctions or over the Internet. Since the vast majority of people who keep exotic animals cannot meet their needs, the animals often become the victims of abuse and neglect—they are caged, chained, tranquilized or even beaten into submission.

Thanks to the Humane Society of the United States for portions of information in this post.

Ohio House Bill 14 Passes House…Onto the Senate We Go

Posted on June 29th, 2011

Yesterday, after much discussion in the days before, the Breed Bans Bill, Ohio House Bill 14, PASSED the House of Reps by a vote of 69 to 29.

Some of us are surprised. Some of us are elated. Some of use are pissed. Some of us knew we could depend on our Representatives at least to listen to their constituents, who have been calling and emailing relentlessy regarding this and many other important animal welfare issues and bills on the floor right now in the House.

(In Ohio, the House isn’t the problem… we’ll discuss that another time.

For now, let’s just celebrate. This makes it more sensible for cities and counties in Ohio to remove THEIR senseless breed bans — and oh boy, there are A LOT throughout the state.

H.B. 14 was proposed in hopes to remove the statewide classification of pit bulls (Pit Bulls or APBTs) as dangerous dogs. Ohio is the only state with such a law.

HB14 – in its current form – creates three different classifications for problem dogs based solely on the behavior of the dog (and owner) and is breed neutral.

The three classifications are:

1) Nuissance Dog — a dog that while off its owner’s property threatens, manaces or attempts to bite a person.

2) Dangerous Dog – one that has caused an injury to a person, killed another dog or had 3 violations as a nuissance dog. Once a dog is classified as dangerous, the owner must register the dog, purchase liability insurance, microchip the dog and afix a tag to its collar.

3) A Vicious Dog – is on that has caused serious injury to a person through a bite.

So HB14 confirmed that Pit Bulls be removed from this classification. WOO-HOO! This will make it not only more sensible, like I said earlier, but easier for cities and counties in Ohio with Pit Bull Bans to reverse them if the people make themselves heard and say WE WANT IT DONE.

Who’s with me??