Torture of a companion animal is now a felony offense in Ohio
On June 13, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed H.B. 60 into law making the act of knowingly causing pain or harm to an animal a fifth-degree felony on a first offense, according to a release from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Although animal cruelty had already been a misdemeanor in the first offense and a felony in the second in the state of Ohio unless done by a kennel owner, manager or employee, new language has been set into place. This new law makes the torture of any companion animal by any person a fifth degree felony in the 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 assualting a police dog or horse, according to the release.
"The brutal act of torturing a compantion animal should not be tolerated in our state, and this new law is a step in the right direction," says Corey Roscoe, Ohio state director for HSUS. "Ohio now joins 47 states in the nation that punish extreme acts of animal cruelty with felony-level penalties."
Previously, all companion animal torture crimes in Ohio were misdemeanors, with no first-offense felony penalties, according to the release.