Randall Lockwood of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said in an article written by Sarah Mervosh and printed in the Toledo Blade on Sunday, July 18th, 2010 that the state of Ohio is one of the weakest in the nation on codes of punishment for animal abusers.
Dog Shootings in Toledo, Ohio
Several concerned citizens of Toledo, Ohio recently helped rescue three dogs who had been shot, or chemically tortured, apparently for sport. All three animals survived their tormentors’ attacks and are being nursed back to health.
A Rottweiler female was the victim of caustic chemicals being poured onto her shoulders and neck. She is healing from a foot-long festering wound. A German Shepherd was shot six times while trapped in a cage. A shepherd mix breed was shot in the left eye and chest.
Several people were charged, or accused in the brutal attacks.
But are Ohio’s anti-animal cruelty state codes enough to convict and punish the perpetrators of these horrendous acts?
What Other States Have in Place
The Toledo Blade’s investigation of the cases of animal abuse that Mervosh’s article detailed reports Ohio lacks teeth in its laws pertaining to animal cruelty.
A first-time animal cruelty conviction in Ohio is punishable only by minor misdemeanor standards. A perpetrator may receive six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. Repeat offenders of the state codes may face felony charges only if the animal victim is a “companion animal”, which might bring a $2,000 fine and a year in prison.
Here’s what some other states have in place:
— misdemeanor for domestic animals; felony only on second offense against cats and dogs
— jail time and fines determined on second offenses
— felony on first offense against any vertebrate
— maximum sentence $20,000 fine, four years in prison
— subsequent crime against any animal; maximum fine $500,000
— crimes against all animals except fish; maximum fine $150,000
— felony on first offense against dogs and cats; maximum fine $15,000, 10 years in prison
— misdemeanor charges only; maximum fine $1,000, six months jail time
Petitions Against Animal Cruelty in Ohio
Recent factory farm investigations and animal cruelty cases in the cities have prompted Ohio citizens and others to sign petitions that intend to ask legislators for stronger animal cruelty laws.
The Sylvania Veterinary Clinic’s Dr. Bob Esplin treated the Toledo area Rottweiler attacked with chemicals. He signed an animal cruelty laws petition to ratchet up animal protection because he said, “I want to hold people responsible”.
John Dinon, director of the Toledo Area Humane Society, agrees that Ohio’s laws need more work. He said laws have improved, but they remain “still relatively weak” when compared to at least 43 other states that view first-time animal cruelty offenders as felons in a serious crime, not merely misdemeanor perpetrators needing a hand slap.