Animal abuse should rise to the level of a felony in Ohio

Animal abuse should rise to the level of a felony in Ohio
In last Wednesday's edition, Denise Dick wrote an article on how cruelty to animals is all too common in the Mahoning Valley, with 104 cases of animal abuse already this year and only one humane investigator working for our county. To make a bad situation even worse, the Youngstown woman who is suspected of neglecting and causing the deaths of her two dogs has only been charged with a misdemeanor.
Unfortunately, Ohio is one of the 14 states where violations against animals are only punishable as misdemeanors, even though our neighboring states of Pennsylvania and West Virginia treat such offenses as felonies.
In another article in Sunday's edition, Elise McKeown Skolnick reported on a new class offered by the Mahoning Chapter of the American Red Cross, which teaches pet owners the skills to save their animal in the event of an emergency. This gives me the impression that Ohio legislators, who have rejected a half dozen bills on animal abuse laws in the past 20 years, care only about those animals who have owners that will pay for their needs and support. They simply fail to protect the most defenseless among us.
"It will never happen in Ohio," said former state Rep. June Lucas in 2002, when discussing the efforts made to toughen animal-cruelty laws. The same is still true today, unfortunately.
If an owner were to torture, beat, neglect or abandon their own pet, it's almost expected that they would get nothing but a slap on the wrist if caught, or worse, if their pet ended up dead.
When I saw a dog last year walking along a busy highway, I immediately pulled over to go out and pick him up. Not only was he dirty, tired and severely dehydrated, but he was also blind and about 14 years old. It's horrifying to think of such acts of abuse happening regularly in our county.
Additional information on getting animal-cruelty laws changed in Ohio can be found at The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Humane Society Web sites.
Don't remodel City Hall
This is a letter in response to The Vindicator article in the local section March 2 titled "Chevy Centre's cost will be known soon." In that article it stated that the board of control, which Mayor Jay Williams is a member, is hiring an architect and paying him up to $11,000 to develop new design plans for Mayor William's office.
This is nothing more than an irrational decision to waste city taxpayers' money. Let us not even think about the cost of actually constructing it, which I am sure would be in the upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.
It makes one wonder if Mayor Williams has looked around at the city building his office is in lately. It appears to be ready to be condemned any day now. Filth, bugs and crumbling plaster are around every corner, which predicates an unsanitary and outdated tone.
I am sure that any one citizen could give Mayor Williams at least five other fundamental things to spend this amount of money on that would have a direct and progressive result in the community.
I just find it extremely disappointing that Mayor Williams would pay an architect $11,000 to design an extravagant new office for himself; this is definitely not the mayor that I voted for in November.