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Government & Politics

Ohio Law to Protect Pets Has Been Largely Unenforced Since its Passage in 2014

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According to Ohio Animal Advocates, a law that is supposed to protect people pets from abuse has not been consistently enforced throughout the state. The organization hopes to change that.

The pandemic has created strain on many Ohio families, but a new report shows it has also been stressful for pets, especially those living in homes where domestic abuse has been prevalent. And a law meant to protect people and pets from abusers has not been enforced in most of those cases.

Vicki Deisner with Ohio Animal Advocates says a law (SB 177) passed seven years ago allows for pets to be included in protective orders and be removed from violent situations. But she says a new report shows only three of Ohio’s 88 counties included pets on protection order forms. She says that has been a problem during COVID. 

“We’ve confined people and quarantined them, and it has escalated domestic violence and animal abuse during this time," Deisner says.

Deisner says the Ohio Supreme Court has now updated its forms to allow for pets to be included in protective orders. And because many counties use those forms, she thinks that will help increase compliance with the law. 

Deisner says she's realized it is important to actually follow up on the laws once they are passed. She says a new state law that went into effect this past month requires social workers, counselors and veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty to humane enforcement for investigation, and law enforcement, dog wardens and animal control officers to report suspected child abuse to county child welfare agencies for investigation. And Deisner says she’ll be following up to make sure there isn’t a similar compliance issue on that one.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.