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Government & Politics

Lawmaker Proposes Increased Penalties for Animal Cruelty

Sad looking dog behind rusted chain link fence
Cruelty towards pets could lead to actual jail time under the new proposal.

Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase penalties for people convicted of cruelty to pets and other companion animals. 

Ohio Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) says first-time animal cruelty offenders can be charged with felonies under a law passed in 2016. But he says with newly passed criminal sentencing standards, even those who are convicted often spend no time behind bars. 

“If you smack them on the wrist for breaking the necks of puppies, that is not going to bode well for what they are going to do in the future to other animals or people.”

Hottinger’s bill, which has bipartisan support, would increase penalties for cruelty to pets to a third-degree felony, with up to 16 months in prison and $10,000 in fines.