PORT CLINTON, Ohio – Earlier this year, a series of Action News exclusive reports by Scott Taylor led to the end of a violent method of pet control used in certain parts of the state. Taylor exposed the routine practice of shooting dogs in Morgan County, and now a local state lawmaker has taken notice.
In May, Morgan County and its dog warden, who last year shot more than 600 dogs and buried them in mass graves, were exposed. In Ohio, however, it is not against the law to control the pet population in such a brutal fashion.
Still, Action News asked Morgan County to stop, and it did. Now, the county uses lethal injections instead.
Ohio Rep. Chris Redfern saw the Action News series and now wants the practice stopped everywhere in the state, so he is introducing a bill to outlaw pet shootings for good.
"It never dawned on me that these types of acts were taking place in a state like Ohio," Redfern said.
The former Ottawa County commissioner, who used to be on the board of the Ottawa Humane Society, said he couldn't believe that so many dogs have been shot.
"It's just a gruesome, barbaric act," Redfern said.
The bill would also ban gassing. Last year, Pike County took in 1,300 dogs and gassed them all.
"Your station has fortunately brought this to light, and we're on the road to ending this practice forever," Redfern said.
The bill also wants to outlaw practices like what was taking place in 1997 in Dark County. The county's animal shelter was using kill boxes to gas unwanted pets. They stopped only after being exposed.
Action News' series about Ohio's killing fields got a tremendous response from all over the country. Letters were sent in from many different states, each demanding that the shootings in Ohio stop.
"I'm glad they are not only from across the state, but the nation. Gov. Taft should also be a strong voice in this, and I'm hoping he'll come out and support my legislation," Redfern said.
The bill will be filed this week. In September, it will be introduced to lawmakers on the House floor in Columbus. Hopefully by this time next year, it will be against the law to shoot or gas your pets in Ohio.