Ohio's New "Goddard's Law" Makes Harm to Companion Animals a Felony
House Bill 60, signed by Ohio Governor John Kasich on June 13, went into effect on Tuesday, making it a fifth degree felony to cause serious harm to a companion animal in the state. Named after famed local weatherman Dick Goddard, an advocate for animals, the law covers offenses such as neglect through depriving a pet of food or water, as well as inflicting long-term pain.
Kelly McGilton, dog warden for Washington County, stated:
“This is huge for our area, for Ohio, for the animals it impacts. It’ll hopefully decrease the number of repeat offenders on cruelty cases.”
The offense carries with it a jail sentence of six months to a year, as well as a fine of up to $2,500. The law also applies to anyone who harms or kills a police dog or horse, or other service animals.
While the law is a step in the right direction for companion animals, it has failed to pass multiple times, due to resistance from agricultural lobbyists. The reason it passed this time was because of language distinguishing “any animal that is kept inside a residential dwelling” from livestock. Unfortunately, we still haven’t arrived, as a society, to a place where we recognize that serious physical harm to a dog is no different than serious physical harm to a pig, chicken, or cow.
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