An animal abuser registry? Pet advocates like proposed Ohio law

Animal Abuser Registry | Proposed Bill

Animal advocates said they are hearing of way too many cases of animal abuse, and right now there’s not really a law in place to stop convicted animal abusers from adopting another.

“The animal is innocent in the whole situation,” said pet owner Lindsay Ruth of Kettering.

She adopted Cooper about four months ago from the Greater Dayton Labrador Retriever Rescue. Cooper is happy now, but Ruth said he was in a sorry state just months ago. Photos show his condition back then, when his rib cage was visible from malnourishment and he had bruises on his snout.

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One Ohio congressman, state Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, wants a statewide animal abuser registry, which he said would prevent abusers from getting their hands on any more pets.

“I think that’s amazing and wonderful news,” Ruth said of the bill proposed. “I think that would be good for society and for animals alike. There’s too many animals out there that have been through a lot of ... stress, and a lot of ... abuse.”

In Greene County, Matthew Bolen was the first person charged under Goddard’s Law, which increased the severity of the crime of hurting a companion animal from a misdemeanor to a felony in some cases. He was sentenced last year after he pleaded guilty to throwing a puppy and banging it on the ground.

The new bill, introduced to the House on Thursday, would lead to two years on the registry for a first offense. Each offense thereafter would mean five years on the registry.

If passed, the Ohio Attorney General's Office would maintain the registry.

There’s also been a bill introduced that would ban animal abusers from having a companion animal.

“You know, what’s going on with that person that they took it out on the animal? It’s terrible.” Ruth said.

The state of Indiana passed a companion animal law this week, but an animal abuse registry bill failed. Right now, a similar bill is stalled in the state of Kentucky.

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