Animal Rights activists in the state of Ohio have a reason to rejoice. A new law that went into effect on September 13, 2016 will finally charge anyone who harms an animal with a felony. The law, which has been long overdue, is called Goddard’s Law or House Bill 60. The animal right’s law was named after Dick Goddard from the Cleveland TV station WJW will now charge any human who purposely causes harm to a companion animal a fifth degree felony. These are the lowest level felonies recognized by Ohio law, but this is a big step up in the protection of animals.
The bill was a textbook example of bipartisan support. Republican David Hall and Democrat Bill Patmon came together to get it through the state legislature. It passed through the Senate unanimously and got through the House with a vote of 92 to 1.
In June, Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Republican presidential candidate, signed the bill in June.
Although the bill took five long years of hard negotiation, it finally passed muster with the politicians of Ohio. Patmon called Goddard’s Law the hardest bill he has ever worked on in his political career.
“Something people said was impossible is possible tonight,” Patmon said after the bill’s passage, notes Cleveland.com.
Now, anyone in Ohio who causes knowing harm to a companion animal will receive a jail sentence of six months to a year and a fine of $2,500.
According to Goddard’s Law, the bill designates withholding food, water, or shelter from a pet as harm as well as physical abuse.
The bill also requires Ohio veterinarians to use their expertise to craft a method to determine whether a pet owner is using their animal to obtain opioids in order to satisfy their prescription drug addictions.
The bill will also dish out prison sentences to anyone who assaults a law enforcement animal in such a way that results in the animal’s death.
Back in 2014, South Dakota became the fiftieth state to enact a felony punishment for animal cruelty. And in May 2016, the federal animal cruelty bill was brought to the House floor. The FBI also has a federal database that works in conjunction with local law enforcement to keep track of any criminal engaging in animal abuse crimes.
Dick Goddard, the Ohio news personality and anchor for Fox 8 News Cleveland, appeared in front of the legislatures at the Ohio State House in order to fight for animal rights over the last few years.
“My passion for animals has only increased over the years. I’m proud to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Goddard said in front of the Ohio representatives. “We need to stiffen our laws for the mistreatment of companion animals. We need to bring Ohio into the 21st century.”
In the video report below from 2013, you’ll see how much work it took for this animal rights bill to pass in Ohio. Doesn’t it make sense that animal abuse should be a felony?
Where do you stand on this issue? Should law enforcement crack down harder on animal abuse and neglect across the country?