Torture of a companion animal is now a felony offense in Ohio


House Bill 60 strengthens state's laws on companion animal abuse

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. 


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