Current Animal Cruelty Law in Ohio
According to Ohio law, it is a crime to abuse or neglect pets. Common forms of abuse or neglect include intentionally harming, killing, torturing, poisoning, withholding food and water, and inadequate confinement.
A first offense for intentionally assaulting an animal is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a jail sentence of up to 180 days and/or a maximum $1,000 fine. A second or subsequent offense is a fifth-degree felony, which carries a maximum 12-month prison sentence and/or a fine no more than $2,500.
Additionally, a first offense knowingly causing serious physical injury to a pet is a fifth-degree felony after House Bill 60—known as “Goddard’s Law” was signed into law in 2016. However, fifth-degree felonies are often associated with no jail time.
Senate Bill 205 Increases Penalties for Animal Cruelty
Introduced on Wednesday, October 2, a bipartisan bill would make knowingly and needlessly killing a pet a third-degree felony, which results in a jail term of up to 36 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Compared to fifth-degree felonies, judges have the discretion to determine jail time.
The proposal was created a little over a week after Antonio Johnson was arrested for allegedly setting a stray dog on fire, which leads to the animal being euthanized. He has pleaded not guilty and is currently being held on $75,000 bond.
If you have been accused of an animal cruelty crime in Ohio, contact Patituce & Associates today at (440) 709-8088 to discuss your case.