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Nitro's Law, animal abuse bill, put to Ohio lawmakers 3rd time

Published: 4/10/13 @ 12:08

By Marc Kovac



For the third time in three general assemblies, a state lawmaker offered introductory testimony before a legislative panel on legislation that would allow increased penalties against kennel owners who abuse or kill animals in their care.

The new iteration of Nitro’s Law, named after a canine that was starved to death at a Youngstown kennel, is essentially the same as the one Rep. Ronald Gerberry of Austintown, D-59th, offered two years ago that passed the Ohio House and an Ohio Senate committee before stalling just shy of a final vote.

“That’s past history,” Gerberry told the House’s agriculture committee Tuesday. “I really believe — strongly believe — in what this bill does, and that’s why I reintroduced if for the third time.”

House Bill 90 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 lower-level felony charges, and judges could place limitations on their future ability to operate kennels.

“This bill gives prosecutors the option,” Gerberry said. “This is not mandatory. That’s a very, very key point here for those that have concerns about extending felony charges.”

Gerberry named the bill in memory of Nitro, a Rott-weiler that was among more than a dozen dogs 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 of the incident and subsequently filed for bankruptcy, avoiding additional civil penalties.

“Local residents were very shocked and angry that a kennel owner could cause the death of these animals with no serious repercussions,” Gerberry said. “This legislation seeks to bring the state of Ohio in line with many, many other states that define animal cruelty as a felony offense.”

The legislation has received bipartisan support over the past two sessions of the state Legislature but has fallen short of passage each time.


Posted by cheybaby2 (anonymous) on April 10, 2013 at 8:08 a.m.

The Kennel Owner was Not The Only Person To Blame, So Is The Owner For Not Going and Checking on There Dog. Both were Irresponsible. You Never Take It for Granted Your Animal will be Taken care Of Be a Responsible Pet Owner and Check on your animal a few times a week. Nitro’s Law Should Not Pass, Because They Can Come On your property with no Just Cause, No warrant , rather your home or not and Take Your Animals. No One Has That Right. You Better Have Just Cause To Take Anyone's Animals.

Posted by mommaof2 (anonymous) on April 10, 2013 at 8:51 a.m.

Chey - not sure how you can blame the owner for something like this. Did you take time to read their story? If not - please visit the below url. Nitro's owner had 100% trust in this P.O.S. They built a relationship before just leaving their beloved pet there. This man and he alone is the one responsible for this dog's death. Nitro's bill absolutely SHOULD pass! I will jump for joy when it does!


Posted by papa1 (anonymous) on April 10, 2013 at 3:42 p.m.

so, in other words, if this doesn't pass, again, it means they think it's permissible to abuse and neglect animals?

Posted by logic (anonymous) on April 10, 2013 at 11:10 p.m.

@cheybaby2, there is no way there is going to be legislation that will allow authorities to come in and take your pets away without just cause. Folks like you will speak up as you should when it comes to an unjust law.

Understand that animal abusers then go on to hurt children, women and anyone vulnerable. Have you read about killers who started by experimenting on animals and get off on the pain they cause? I am sure you have.

You have to look at the bigger picture and not attack someone based on your fear. I am sure the owner has a lot of remorse and guilt for trusting a family friend who had been training their dog. If they didn't, they wouldn't be trying for years to pass a law that has been passed in 47 other states though those laws are not as lenient as Nitro's Law. Yes, Nitro's Law is lenient. Read more and you will see..

@mrrightsometimes, As for Rep Gerberry introducing some other law, contact your own Rep and start the process if it matters that much to you. If you as a voter do not contact your elected Representative then YOU have not communicated what you want to them. I am sure your neighbors and friends will be helping you with that effort. BUT effort it is, it takes a lot of work, not just a comment on a website.

Posted by eulafrey (anonymous) on April 11, 2013 at 7:46 a.m.

Nitro's Law, at this level, is not aimed at individual people, therefore it cannot be used to gain entry. Nitro's guardians had a long relationship with High Caliber that spanned years, not days. This man not only committed atrocities against Nitro and his family, but other dogs and families, as well.

Posted by mkj3757 (anonymous) on April 11, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.

Ohio is one of the few states with such lax animal welfare laws. It has a pitiful record of punishing animal abusers. They get a slap on the wrist time & again so they can go on to commit the abuse again & even escalate it to children & anyone more vulnerable to them. People are shocked & disgusted to hear of the abuse & certainly don't want to look at the pictures but when a law like this comes up they won't get behind it with ACTION. Contact your legislators & ask them to vote yes on HB90!