Ohio group wants stronger animal protection laws - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Ohio group wants stronger animal protection laws

(Toledo News Now) -

A group of animal lovers is trying to make Ohio a safer place for animals.

Ohio Voters for Companion Animals formed in January 2013 with the goal to get the state to do more to protect our four-legged friends.

"I would feel better knowing that if someone harmed my dog that it would be considered a serious crime, as opposed to a piece of property being basically damaged," said Debbie Lang, a member of OVCA.

The group is urging legislators to stiffen animal cruelty and abuse penalties. Currently, harming a pet in Ohio is a misdemeanor. OVCA thinks it should be a felony.

"Historically speaking, I think the state legislature has deemed that you don't need a felony. It would create more litigation," said Lang.

She says out of the 50 states, the Animal Legal Defense Fund ranks Ohio 34th in the overall protection of animals. That's why OVCA believes deliberate acts of cruelty, such as shooting or stabbing companion animals, should be a felony.

One hot topic under debate by animal advocates is leaving a pet inside a car on a summer day.  But wouldn't it be just as easy to rescue the animal by breaking a window, saving the owner from facing serious charges?

"While people may feel this is a good thing to do, most police officers will say you're looking for a potential charge by doing that," Lang said.

The debate goes on.

OVCA is holding a series of animal law seminars around the state. The next one is Saturday, July 26 in Toledo. For more information, visit www.ohiovotersforcompanionanimals.com.

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