State Sen. Sean J. O’Brien (D-Bazetta) provided sponsor testimony today in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Bill 205, which increases penalties for cruelty towards, or the killing of, companion animals.
“Numerous studies have found a relationship between animal abuse and violence against people,” said O’Brien. “We hope to make the penalties fit these extremely heinous crimes and, in the process, prevent violent crimes from being committed against people. Offenders need to receive more than a slap on the wrist for harming companion animals in Ohio.”
SB 205, which is joint-sponsored by Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), was introduced after recent news reports of animal cruelty throughout Ohio, including the beating, skinning and incineration of pets in their cages. Under current law, individuals who commit such horrific acts often receive punishments that do not match these serious crimes.
“As a dog lover and owner, I find acts such as these to be unconscionable,” said O’Brien. “I hope to see this bipartisan legislation move as quickly as possible through the legislature.”
Under SB 205, companion animals are defined as cats, dogs or other animals kept inside a residential dwelling, other than livestock or wild animals. The bill redefines the most egregious acts of violence against animals and raises the offenses for those from first-degree misdemeanors and fifth-degree felonies to third-degree felonies. The bill also creates the crime of aiding and abetting companion animal cruelty, a fourth-degree felony.
Additional information about SB 205 can be found here