In late June 2008, Elizabeth Raab dropped her Rottweiler, Nitro, off at High Caliber K-9 in Youngstown, Ohio for extended training. Nitro’s family had researched the facility carefully, and after much back and forth deliberation about sending Nitro out of state, they decided that this training and get-away for Nitro would be the best thing for him.
They were confident that they were entrusting their dog to a reputable trainer who would
be able to relate to their intelligent dog and his special abilities. Several months later, High Caliber K-9 was raided by local law enforcement and humane agents, who found seven dead and twelve starving dogs in the company’s enclosures. Nitro was among the dogs that had starved to death.
The owner of the kennel, Steve Croley, was taken into custody, but due to legal missteps, the nineteen counts of animal cruelty he was originally charged with were reduced to four. Of the 15 dropped charges, Nitro was one of them. Appalled that there would be no justice for the death of their pet, Nitro’s family created the NitroFoundation, and made it their mission to amend section 959.99 of the Ohio Revised Code to increase the penalty for violation of the prohibition against cruel treatment of a companion animal by the animal’s custodian or caretaker to a felony of the fifth degree.
Ohio is only 1 of 5 states that abuse to companion animals is not a felony. In 45 states animal abuse is considered a serious felony crime.
The animal cruelty bill makes it a felony crime to torture, torment, beat, poison or commit any act of cruelty against a cat or dog and carries a punishment of up to a year in jail for each count of animal cruelty. The Ohio House passed House Bill 70 on February 24, 2010 by a vote of 59 to 38. Of the votes in favor of the bill, 51 votes were (D) and 8 votes were (R). All 38 voters in opposition were Republicans.
The bill requires Senate approval before it becomes law.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Every voice makes a difference. Members of the Ohio Senate need your guidance to represent you effectively. Changing the laws for animal cruelty in Ohio is an uphill battle. The bill is now being reviewed by the judiciary committee, but the Ohio Senate and the committee both have republican majorities. Contact the committee that is reviewing HB70 before it goes to the Ohio Senate, and contact your Ohio Senators.
Call or write your legislator to express your support to this legislation. If you don’t know who your senator is, you can call 1-800-282-0253. Letters should be addressed to your senator at:
1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
You can email your Republican senator at: SD<insert your district # here>@senate.state.oh.us (ex: SD24@senate.state.oh.us)
Or your Democratic senator at: SD<insert your district # here>@maild.sen.state.oh.us (ex: SD28@maild.sen.state.oh.us)
If you don’t know your district, there is a district map available online at: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/map.html
HB 70 bill can be viewed at: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=128_HB_70
For more information visit the NitroFoundation.