A new Ohio law making it a felony to abuse a companion animal in the state of Ohio went into effect on Tuesday.
House Bill 60, also known as Dick Goddard's Law, makes it a fifth degree felony to cause "serious physical harm" to any companion animal, which is defined as any animal kept inside a residential dwelling, and any dog or cat regardless of where it is kept. Serious physical harm includes depriving a pet of food, water or shelter or inflicting long-term pain.
Anybody convicted under the new law will face a stiff fine along with a minimum 6 months to one year in jail. And anybody who kills a police dog or horse will be hit with a mandatory prison sentence.
The widely publicized story of Jethro, the police dog who was shot and killed in Canton, Ohio, created public outrage and new demands for state laws regarding animal rights—particularly those of K9 officers. Jethro's killer was sentenced to 45 years in prison (he was convicted of several other felonies in addition to Jethro's shooting), and the incident created momentum for Dick Goddard's Law.
Animals matter--and we're glad to see that state legislatures are beginning to take their welfare seriously!