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July 1, 2013

Ohio Lawmakers Applauded for Passing Animal Protections

Bill allows kennel owners to be charged with felony penalties for animal cruelty

Kennel owners and operators who commit acts of animal cruelty could be charged with a felony on a first offense, under a bill known as "Nitro's Law" passed by the Ohio legislature.

Karen Minton, Ohio state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “Ohio has long been at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to punishing severe acts of animal cruelty. Nitro’s Law would bring the state more in line with the vast majority of states in the country by holding those who intentionally and maliciously abuse animals accountable for their actions. We applaud the Ohio legislature for taking a step in the right direction.”

“Nitro’s Law” is named for one of the 19 dogs found dead or near death at a kennel in Youngstown, Ohio. The animals, found in abhorrent living conditions, were suffering from starvation and severe dehydration. Despite the severe nature of the offense, Ohio law permitted only a misdemeanor level penalty. A similar version of this tragic story recently played out in March in Lancaster, Ohio, when pets left in the care of a kennel were forced to live in deplorable living conditions and were found starved and dehydrated.

The plight for Nitro’s Law has been largely led by Nitro’s parents, Liz Raab and Tom Siesto. Amassing an outpouring of grassroots support known as “Nitro’s Army,” Nitro’s parents have fought tirelessly for the law over a span of six years.

“Finally, after all these years of losing Nitro so horrifically in 2008, Nitro and his kennel mates will be able rest in peace,” said Raab. “Their deaths are not in vain; this law will make a huge difference and will be built upon to include more and more for the protection of our companion animals: our family members.  We can’t begin to thank all the people who helped to make this happen.”

HB 90 was added to the state biennial budget in the Ohio Senate, which Gov. John Kasich signed into law Sunday. Iowa, Idaho, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Dakota are the only states that don’t provide first time felony level penalties for animal cruelty in specific circumstances.

Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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