MENTOR, OH (WOIO) - A tough, new animal protection law in Mentor is gaining traction and is being copied in other cities. You could call it a pet's Bill of Rights, because it makes pet owners accountable for their pet's living conditions.
Most people enjoy having a pet. But in some cases, it is a one-way relationship with owners not taking proper care of their animals. There have been many stories about mistreatment of animals or animals left in hot cars.
Mentor City Councilman Scott Marn did something about it, authoring a law about animal care. It mandates minimum standards of care and was a big hit with owners at the Mentor Dog Park.
"It's about time something gets done about the welfare of our animals. I totally agree with that, because so many people neglect their animals. They let them outside. They let them run freely. They don't get them spayed and neutered," said dog owners Laura Steinbrecher and Shari Palumbo.
Marn's law is patterned after one near Charlotte, NC. Since his law went into effect five months ago, two other Lake County cities have mirrored it.
A first citation is just a minor misdemeanor. A second citation is more serious. A third citation, or if an animal gets hurt under your care, could mean jail.
"Basically, taking care of your animals, you know, in terms of shelter, in terms of adequate food, in terms of adequate water, in terms of how long an animal can be outside," explained Marn.
The law says a cage or pen must be sized so that an animal can at least stand and turn around. It also must be cleaned regularly. No animal can be tethered outside without shelter, and never for more than eight consecutive hours with at least an hour in between. A tether must be at least 15 feet long, but can't allow an animal to cross over into a neighbor's property.
"We want healthy animals. Animals are basically defenseless. They're there to make you happy and to make your family happy. And that's the name of the game: keeping the animal safe and healthy," added Marn.
Mentor Police will enforce the law.