Ohio Legislative Update

There are many bills pending in this General Assembly that impact Ohio animals.  Below is a summary of some of the pending bills as of November 2017.  More information and a current status can be found at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/legislation/legislative-tools

S.B 232 - Allowing Veterinarians continuing Education Credit for neutering Services - “To amend section 4741.16 of the Revised Code to allow a licensed veterinarian to receive up to two continuing education credits per biennium for performing free spaying and neutering services.”

H.B. 226 - Regarding Fireworks  - “To amend sections 1705.48, 3737.51, 3737.71, 3737.99, 3743.04, 3743.17, 3743.44, 3743.45, 3743.60, 3743.61, 3743.63, 3743.65, 3743.75, 3743.99, 5703.052, 5703.053, 5703.19, 5703.70, and 5703.77 and to enact sections 3737.04, 3737.05, 3737.06, 3737.07, 3737.08, 3737.09, 3737.10, 3737.11, 3737.12, 3743.46, 3743.47, 3743.591, and 3743.67 of the Revised Code to establish a fireworks study group to review and make recommendations regarding the Fireworks Law, to extend to July 1, 2020, the moratorium on issuing fireworks manufacturer and wholesaler licenses, to eliminate, beginning January 1, 2021, the moratorium on geographic transfer of fireworks manufacturer and wholesaler licenses, and, beginning January 1, 2021, to impose a fee on the retail sale of consumer grade fireworks in this state and to expand the ability of individuals to obtain 1.3G display fireworks and obtain and use 1.4G consumer fireworks."  Fireworks are a major contributing factor to dog anxiety, stress and escape.  Allowing them to be more readily available and used would be bad for Ohio's companion animals.

H.B. 263 - Pets on Patios  "To enact section 3717.14 of the Revised Code to generally allow an owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog to take the dog in an outdoor dining area of a retail food establishment or food service operation."

H.B. 319 - Designate shelter pet as Ohio's official pet -  Bill 319 is an effort to raise awareness for shelter animals. Each year, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide, of which 1.5 million are euthanized. In Ohio, 70 percent of dogs in shelters are adopted, with the remaining 30 percent being euthanized. This statistic is as high as 58 percent in some counties.

News and animal law cases

From The National Link Coalition

"The National Link Coalition is proud to announce the first National Directory of Abuse Investigation Agencies to make it easier for people to report animal cruelty, child maltreatment and elder abuse, and to help domestic violence survivors find safety. The Directory is free on our website and helps the public cut through the confusion of who to call in 6,513 cities and counties."   To access, click on this link  - http://nationallinkcoalition.org/how-do-i-report-suspected-abuse

Stop Puppy Mills Ohio

Stop Puppy Mills Ohio is looking to make significant improvements to the conditions for puppy mill dogs in Ohio.  "Ohio is America's second largest puppy mill state according to the Humane Society of the United States. These large-scale breeding facilities are considered by the Humane Society to put profit above animal welfare, housing dogs in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, and breeding females with little recovery time.

Now the group, Stop Puppy Mills Ohio, is circulating a petition to put an anti-puppy mill issue before voters next November. Their proposed constitutional amendment would put new restrictions on commercial dog breeding. The restrictions include limiting the number of litters a female dog could produce in her lifetime. Breeders who fail to meet the standards would be banned from selling dogs. The measure is likely to be opposed by Ohio's Amish breeders and some pet stores." (Stop Puppy Mills Ohio)   For more information on the initiative and how to become involved, visit www.stoppuppymillsohio.com

Pit Bull Ban Unconstitutional in Ohio - at least in the Fifth District - Fifth District Court of Appeals in Ohio Finds Pit Bull Ban a violation of Municipal Home Rule and Unconstitutional -  On April 24, 2017, the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals issued an opinion reversing the trial court’s ruling and striking down the Reynoldsburg ordinance as unconstitutional (Russ v. Reynoldsburg, 2017 Ohio 1471)  The court reasoned that the Reynoldsburg ordinance prohibited something—the ownership of pit bulls with no history of aggression—that state law permits, in violation of the Ohio Constitution.  The full opinion can be found here - https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/5/2017/2017-Ohio-1471.pdf

Idaho Ag Gag Law Declared Unconstitutional August 2015

On August 3, 2015 the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho ruled  that Idaho Code sec. 18-7042 “Ag-Gag law” violated the First and fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Ag Gag Laws are essentially anti-whistleblower statutes, which seek to criminalize photographing or videotaping farming and other operations.   Numerous undercover investigations have revealed numerous shocking practices, which are considered industry standard as well as numerous cases of animal abuse at large factory farm facilities. The public does not support these laws and the majority fails.  Today, seven states have Ag-Gag laws on the books and more are seeking to enact similar “right to farm” legislation.
Source:  https://acluidaho.org/idaho-ag-gag-law-ruled-unconstitutional-in-federal-court/  Additional information can be found at: www.aldf.org/aggag

Kent State University agrees to $145,000 settlement of federal lawsuit over assistance animals, January 2016

In September of 2014, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Kent State University alleging its board of trustees and university officials violated the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against students with disabilities in student housing after a student living in University owned housing was denied an accommodation for an emotional support dog.  On January 4, an agreement was reached whereby the University would pay this couple $100,000, $30,000 to the Fair Housing Advocates Association in Akron and $15,000 to the federal government.  This is a significant win for everyone with disabilities that are not readily apparent and require the use of a service animal for support.
Source: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2016/01/kent_state_university_agrees_t.html

FBI now tracking animal abuse, 2016

In a major step forward, the FBI announced in 2014 that in 2016 it would begin tracking animal abuses cases much as it tracks homicides.  This is not only a significant win for animals, but for humans as well, as the FBI has long recognized animal cruelty as a predictor of human violence.  The FBI defines cruelty to animals as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment.” There will be four categories of crimes: simple or gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse (such as dog fighting and cock fighting), and animal sexual abuse. 

Sources: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/01/06/a-big-win-for-animals-the-fbi-now-tracks-animal-abuse-like-it-tracks-homicides/ and http://nationallinkcoalition.org/faqs/what-is-the-link

 Nevada man gets up to 28 years in prison for animal abuse

In October 2015, 25 year old Josh Brown of Reno Nevada was found guilty of animal abuse for systematically torturing and killing 7 dogs, many of which he obtained from Craig’s List.  Brown was a former President Scholar, Psychology major and adopted son of a wealthy Reno couple.  The sentence handed down in this case is more than one could have received for manslaughter under Nevada law and certainly speaks to the increased seriousness given to these horrific crimes.  For decades, the FBI has recognized that virtually all, if not all, serial killers start with animals as their first victims.
Source:  http://www.ksl.com/?nid=157&sid=36767167&title=nevada-man-who-tortured-killed-dogs-gets-up-to-28-years

Animals in France finally recognized as ‘living, sentient beings, January 2015

While animals in the United States remain property, similar to your car or your couch, their status is changing throughout much of the world.  In January of 2015, Animals in France were recognized as sentient beings.   It has taken the French parliament more than 200 years to officially recognize animals as "living, sentient beings" rather than "furniture," finally upgrading their embarrassing status that dates back to Napoleonic times.  This change was brought on by a two-year fight led by the French animal rights organization Fondation 30 Million d’Amis (Foundation of 30 Million Friends).  Reha Hutin, the Charity’s President insisted that the new legislation was needed to stop horrendous acts of cruelty toward animals. Currently, the law on the cruel treatment of animals in France comprises the punishment of a maximum two-year prison term and a 30,000-euro fine.  “France is behind the times here. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland they have changed the law so it says that animals are not just objects,"   In 2002, Germany became the first country in the European Union to grant constitutional rights to its animals.

Source:  https://www.rt.com/news/227431-animals-sentient-furniture-parliament/

Including Pets in Protection orders in Ohio is now a  reality - Substitute Senate Bill 177 was signed into law in December 2014 making Ohio the 27th state in the Nation to include pets in protective order.  This law provides clear legal authority for Judges to include pets in domestic violence protection orders.  There are numerous studies which show that victims will not leave a dangerous situation if it means leaving a beloved pet behind.  This legislation protects these victims by taking away a barrier to leaving.  You can read more about this issue by clicking on this below link.  http://www.care2.com/causes/new-ohio-law-protects-pets-from-domestic-violence.html

Phillip Seymore Hoffman and other Oscar winners teach us important lessons about estate planning.  We all certainly don't have estates like these celebrities, but we all do have estates and the mistakes they made and we often make are the same.  Read more about some common mistakes and solutions in a recent Forbes article (below).


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These articles are provided for informational purposes only, they are not intended as legal advice.

Helpful Links

Animal Related

The American Society for the Prevention of

Cruelty to Animals - ASPCA


Best Friends Animal Society


The Farm Sanctuary


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals


Estate and Business

Ohio Probate Court Information




Department of Labor


Secretary of State of Ohio


The Law Office


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