Ohio expected to pass tougher animal cruelty law; increases punishment for kennel owners

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A fight to enact tougher penalties for kennel owners and employees who abuse animals abuse appears to be over.

House Bill 108, known as Nitro's Law, is expected to be approved by the Ohio Senate Agriculture, Environment & Natural Resources Committee during a vote May 15, according to supporters. The proposal will then be voted on by the full Senate.

"I think this time around, it really is going to pass all the way through," said Liz Raab. Raab was Nitro's owner and has spearheaded efforts to strengthen Ohio's animal cruelty law.

Nitro was one of one of eight dogs starved to death at a Youngstown K9 training facility in 2008. The law named in honor of the Rottweiler would make it fifth-degree felony for kennel owners and employees to fail to provide food, water, veterinary care or adequate shelter for animals in their care. It is currently a second-degree misdemeanor.

Nitro's Law failed when it was first introduced in 2009. It passed the Ohio House of Representatives, but was never scheduled for a hearing in the Ohio Senate's Criminal Justice Committee.

Nitro's Law was reintroduced in 2011 and passed the Ohio House of Representatives 79-9 in February.

Raab and Tom Siesto, who owned Nitro with Raab, both made an eight-hour drive from New York to testify in favor of the law before a state senate committee hearing Tuesday.

"It's wrong," said Raab about Ohio's current animal cruelty statute. "If you don't do anything about it, then nothing ever changes."



Raab and other supporters also said Nitro's Law does not go far enough.

NewsChannel5 investigators took a look at Ohio's animal cruelty laws and found the state's statutes are more lenient than most other U.S. states.

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