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Nitro's Law lacks support for passage in Ohio General Assembly

Published: Wed, December 12, 2012 @ 9:09 p.m.

COLUMBUS — Legislation that would increase criminal penalties against kennel operators who abuse pets in their care is not expected to move out of the Ohio Senate this session.

Mahoning Valley lawmakers Ronald Gerberry of Austintown, D-59th, and Robert Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, sponsored the law changes after an incident at a Mahoning County kennel.

House Bill 108, better known as Nitro's Law, is named in memory of a dog that was starved to death at a Youngstown-area business.

The Rottweiler was among more than a dozen dogs that were found dead or dying from extreme neglect in 2008 at the High Caliber K-9 kennel on Coitsville-Hubbard Road.

The owner of the business faced a few misdemeanor convictions as a result and subsequently filed for bankruptcy, avoiding additional civil penalties.

HB 108 would make it illegal for kennel owners, managers or employees to abuse or neglect pets in their care. Those found guilty of doing so could face felony charges, and judges could place limitations on their future ability to operate kennels.

The bill passed the Ohio House in February and moved through a Senate committee a few months later. But it’s languished “below the line” on the Senate calendar, among two dozen-plus bills that either don’t have the support for passage or that were amended into other legislation.

For the complete story, read Thursday's Vindicator and Vindy.com


1luvsdogs(70 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Lacks support for passage? What a load of dog poop! As a dog lover and Ohio voter I support this bill, tons of people do! We've written and called our legislators telling them we need better laws for our companion animals. Why don't those in Columbus listen to their constituents? Why hasn't Nitro's Law been put on the floor so all the Senators can vote on it? Then we could see once and for all exactly who we should vote for in the next election.
Call Senate President Niehaus 614-466-8082 and vote on this bill tomorrow.

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2mdsmeck(12 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

The byline here is totally false...The ONLY support this bill lacks is that of the one man that can bring this bill to a full senate vote and that is Ohio Senate President Niehaus at 614-466-8082...

Senator Niehaus refuses to talk to any supporters or the media about this topic…

Nitro's Law has support of the HSUS, ASPCA, Ohio Federation of Humane Societies,; the Ohio Farm Bureau issued a statement that they are not opposed to HB108, and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association’s Executive Director, John Murphy, worked on an amendment while the bill was in the Senate Ag Committee, back in May, and was in agreement with the language…

In the 128th General Assembly, as HB70, it was voted out of the House Criminal Justice Committee on 11/19/09 by a vote of 6-4 and then approved by a full House vote of 59-38 on 2/24/10...It then went to the Senate Judiciary Criminal Justice Committee and stalled there will no action taken and died, just like Nitro and his kennel mates did at the hands of their trusted trainer, at the end of 2010...

Today, as HB108, the bill passed the House Criminal Justice Committee on 9/21/11 by a vote of 11-2 and then was approved by the full House on 2/15/12 by a vote of 82-11...On 5/22/12, the bill unanimously (9-0) passed the Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee with Committee Chairman Cliff Hite and Committee Member Capri Cafaro being added as Co-Sponsors...

Although many daily phone calls, emails and letters hit the office of Ohio Senate President Niehaus, he continues to ignore requests to bring this bill to a full Senate vote...

We most humbly request that citizens of Ohio support HB108/Nitro’s Law and encourage Ohio Senate President Niehaus to bring the bill to a full Senate vote by calling him at 614-466-8082…

Let’s get this on Ohio’s law books so we can be a part of the solution and not the problem and show the rest of the country that we are no longer lagging behind the majority of other states in reference to Companion Animal protection laws…

Let me also state that a "felony" would not be automatic...It is at the prosecutor's discretion, so is Niehaus not trusting of the appointed prosecutors in Ohio???

Also, this would only be used in the most extremer cases of animal abuse, such as "knowingly" and "needlessly" killing or causing severe bodily injury to a companion animal...

These crimes of "murder" or "felonious assault" carry a 3rd degree to 1st degree felony when committed against humans...This law ONLY asks for a 5th degree felony...

What would happen to the person that starves a child to death??? Surely more than a 5th degree felony...

And this is not just about our companion animals...What does Niehaus not understand about the clearly defined link between animal abuse and further human aggression??? The animal abuser of today may likely be the rapist of your spouse or daughter tomorrow, the next serial killer or the next school shooter...

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3ulistenup(95 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago


It is wrong to talk about "crimes of murder or felonious assault" in reference to animals.

Congratulations to Mr. Niehaus!

I appreciate the compassion you feel for animals, but legislation like this serves to (unwittingly) blur the distinction between humans, who have an immortal soul, and animals, who don't.

The fact is, animal cruelty is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable for up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. Compared to other crimes, this is a stiff punishment - and it needn't be elevated. In the Nitro case, the lenient sentence was the judge's fault, not the law's.

I have no proof of this, but I would imagine that many, if not most animal-rights activists are pro-abortion. (Mr. Hagan is.) Why is this? It follows that elevating animals to equality with humans - results in diminishing the value of human life. It is a sad commentary that in today's society, abused animals have a higher status in the law than unborn children. (Even to the extent of denying medical treatment to babies born alive from failed abortions.)

Animals are just that - animals, and they are here for our use, not abuse. But it is misplaced compassion to elevate animals to such an extent that we forget our fellow man.

Mr. Niehaus knows this and he is to be commended.

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4mdsmeck(12 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

ulistenup -If you are going to spout facts, at least get them correct...Violation of ORC 959.131(B) "No person shall knowingly torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against a companion animal." faces the following penalties - From ORC 959.99 Penalties - "(E)(1) Whoever violates division (B) of section 959.131 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree on a first offense and a felony of the fifth degree on each subsequent offense."

As above, Ohio already has a "subsequent offense" with a 5th degree felony, but in extreme cases such as:

1. Over the summer in Zanesville, where a man and woman were in a domestic dispute, the male wanted the female to "listen" so he snatched the dog from her arms and slit its throat


2. the case in Ironton where 2 drunk 20 year olds decided to visit their neighbor's dogs, while the neighbors were not home...The dogs were chained to their doghouses and these two decided it would be fun to stab them to death...One dog cowered in the back of its doghouse and the two individuals tore the doghouse to get to the dog to stab it to death...

Why give these individuals a 2nd chance to commit these crimes or other worse crimes???

46 other states and many Ohio Representatives, Senators and Citizens believe in a "first offense" felony, and it's people like you and Ohio Senate President Niehaus that want to keep our great state lagging behind the other progressive states with our archaic laws...

It's really a shame that we do not live in a democracy...If we did, one man or very small group would not be able to hold up progress and the passage of this bill into law...

Stay tuned, you WILL see some MAJOR Companion Animal Law Reform in the very near future, guaranteed...

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5FormerYtowner(96 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago


You are a sorry individual. I pity the life you live. Go seek help immediately. Don't you read the news stories about service dogs, and therapy dogs, and how these animals change the lives of those who need them? You are a sick sick individual and as I said before, you should seek immediate help.

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6ulistenup(95 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago


"Why give these individuals a 2nd chance to commit these crimes or other worse crimes???"

Well... I guess the only sure way not to give these criminals a second chance is to kill them...hm...

Also, put this in your pipe and smoke it...
"What is the ethical difference (not legal difference) between someone who kills a deer 'for fun" and someone who kills a dog 'for fun?'"

There is no ethical difference, yet one act gets you on the front page of the Vindy and the other puts you in jail.

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7GoPens(397 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

What's up with ulistenup and other nut jobs who keep posting about animals not having souls and other nonsense. Who cares? They are living creatures and should be treated with compassion. What crazy church do you nut jobs attend? Let us know so we can stay as far away from you guys as possible.

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8ulistenup(95 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago


"They are living creatures and should be treated with compassion."

This doesn't include treating them equal to or better than humans - like so many animal rights activists want.

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9Sumpintasay(55 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

NO one said anything about the death penalty for cruelty to animals!!!! Try actually reading sometime. You might learn something.

The ethical difference between hunting wild animals for food and killing domestic animals for fun??? Seriously?? You really had to ask that question? You must be one of the animal abusers!!!!

Also, put his in YOUR pipe... you have no proof that humans have immortal souls while animals have none.
Read your Bible if you want to pull the religion card. "Christians" like you are what is causing so many people to turn and run away from religion!

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10Sumpintasay(55 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Ulinstep, you said "This doesn't include treating them equal to or better than humans - like so many animal rights activists want."

No one is asking for the animals to be treated better than humans. They are asking that when they pay for a dogsitter, their dog be fed and cared for. Not starved to death and neglected.
They are asking that people not be able to tie a dog to a tree and forget it is there.
They are asking that people not be allowed to throw hot oil on or stab an animal for their own personal entertainment of their sickness.
It has been proven that people who torture and mutilate animals are more likely to end up doing the same thing to humans.
So unless you are one of these sick individuals, I don't understand our opposition.

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11GoPens(397 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Still haven't said what crazy church you attend. God have merry on your soul--if you have one.

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12GoPens(397 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

*mercy on your soul...

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13Corvina1981(4 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

I am saddened to see so many people in this area do not support this legislation. Whether you are an animal lover or not, many are obviously blind to the bigger picture. It is a proven fact that animal abuse in all its forms can lead to acts of violence towards other human beings. With this being known, potentially dangerous people can be taken off the streets, punished and rehabilitated BEFORE they decide to take out aggression on another person, whether it would be their spouse, their children or even a stranger. Stricter animal cruelty laws are a MUST at this point and, while Nitro's Law is only a starting point in stiffening penalties for these crimes in Ohio, it is a stepping stone to a better society. ALL life is sacred, not just that of humans. Had YOUR dog been one of the ones starved to death by Steve Crowley, you would be out for blood and don't deny that fact. While I am sure nobody in this forum owned any of those animals or even knew them, the fact remains that this happens every single day in this state and nothing is being done about it because our laws are so weak. Less than five states in this entire country carry a maximum of a misdemeanor charge for animal cruelty. Why does Ohio insist upon remaining so far behind the times? Passing this law will not cost the state anything, but Niehaus refuses to move it to the floor.

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