Gov. John Kasich signed H.B. 60 into law to make knowingly causing pain or physical harm to an animal a fifth-degree felony on a first offense.

The measure also provides for a state collaborative effort to assist veterinarians in identifying clients who may use their animals to secure opioids for abuse, and modifies the penalty for assaulting a police dog or horse.

Corey Roscoe, Ohio state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said “The brutal act of torturing a companion animal should not be tolerated in our state, and this new law is a step in the right direction. Ohio now joins 47 states in the nation that punish extreme acts of animal cruelty with felony-level penalties. The Public Animal Welfare Society of Ohio and the bill sponsors Rep. David Hall and Rep. Bill Patmon have worked tirelessly on this issue for the past several years and we should all be thankful for their hard work.”

Previously, all companion animal torture crimes in Ohio were misdemeanors, with no first-offense felony penalties.

The Humane Society of the United States is part of a broad coalition of supporters that applaud the Ohio General Assembly for passing a bill that will provide for stronger penalties in cases of animal torture, and for acknowledging that Ohioans want to see stricter laws in place to provide a more meaningful deterrent to cruelty and abuse.

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