Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) has announced that the Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 108, which is also referred to as “Nitro’s Law.”
House Bill 108 defines animal cruelty as a felony-level offense, bringing the State of Ohio in line with the vast majority of other states. Specifically, the bill makes each occurrence of abuse by an animal’s custodian or caregiver a fifth-degree felony, which can be accompanied by up to 12 months in prison per offense.
“I’m pleased that members from both sides of the aisle have come together in support of House Bill 108,” Speaker Batchelder said. “We have taken a major step toward rectifying a major shortcoming in Ohio’s penal system. The passage of this legislation today sends a message that animal cruelty and neglect will not be tolerated in this state.”
This issue arose after a Youngstown kennel owner allowed eight of the 19 dogs that were entrusted in his care to starve to death in 2008. However, according to current Ohio law, individuals charged with animal cruelty can only be charged with a misdemeanor, and the kennel owner—Steven Croley—only served four months in prison before being released.
“The horrific tragedy that happened in Youngstown has really brought the issue of animal cruelty to light in Ohio,” said Speaker Batchelder. “It has compelled us to take a closer look at whether we are adequately punishing those who abuse innocent animals and may hopefully help to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.”
House Bill 108 passed by a vote of 82-11 and will now be sent to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.