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May 10, 2011

Animal Advocates Lobby Ohio Lawmakers for Humane Legislation

The Humane Society of the United States urges support for puppy mill, cockfighting and exotics legislation

Citizens from across Ohio participating in Humane Lobby Day 2011 will meet with lawmakers Tuesday at the capitol to urge them to pass legislation ranging from cracking down on puppy mills and illegal cockfighting, to increasing the penalties for animal abuse and including animals in domestic violence and restraining orders. In addition, they will be lobbying legislators to take action on dangerous and wild animals being kept as “pets.” The stronger policies on cockfighting, puppy mills, and private ownership of dangerous exotics were part of a carefully crafted agreement reached last year between The HSUS, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and agricultural leaders, and the groups agreed to work together to advance those reforms. 

Ohio is rapidly becoming one of the leading states for puppy mills, the cruel commercial dog breeding operations that mass-produce puppies for sale through pet stores, over the Internet and directly to the public. Focused solely on making a profit, these facilities keep dogs in crowded, filthy conditions where they receive little or no socialization, affection, or exercise. SB 130 would combat puppy mill cruelty by establishing standards for high volume breeders.  

Ohio is also one of the few remaining states where cockfighting is not a felony. In a cockfight, specially bred roosters have knives and gaffs strapped to their heels and are forced to fight to the death for entertainment and gambling purposes. The HSUS is supporting legislation that will soon be introduced to make cockfighting a felony — just as dogfighting has been since 1980. 

The HSUS is also urging the legislature to ensure that the Department of Natural Resources follows through with strong regulations on the ownership of exotic, dangerous animals as pets.  Without regulation, these animals are easily purchased over the Internet and at auction. Keeping these animals in a basements and backyards is dangerous for people and for the animals. Wild animals are powerful and unpredictable, and private citizens simply do not have the expertise or resources to provide proper care for them. 

“Year after year we see measures to protect animals, including legislation to combat puppy mills and end cockfighting, die in committee or never make it to the full floor for a vote,” said Karen Minton, Ohio state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Ohio ranks 45th in the nation on animal welfare laws and it’s time we take steps to provide meaningful protections to animals.”

Humane Lobby Day 2011 will feature a keynote presentation by Tim Harrison, Director of Outreach for Animals and star of the award winning film The Elephant in the Living Room. Mr. Harrison, a retired police officer from near Dayton, Ohio, founded Outreach for Animals in response to the incredible volume of calls he received as a first responder dealing with dangerous and exotic animals at large.  

Last year, state legislatures across the country passed nearly 100 new laws to protect animals. The HSUS works with animal advocates and state legislators to enact laws protecting animals from cruelty, combating animal fighting, halting wildlife abuse and more. 

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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