Some call it a big victory for animals’ rights.
On Sunday, Governor John Kasich signed Nitro’s law, making animal abuse a fifth-degree felony for kennels that mistreat animals.
“Animal cruelty is unacceptable and there are more things we need to do we’d have to look at,” Kasich said in a recent interview with FOX 8. “They’re God’s creatures, and they needed to be treated with respect and love, and when people don’t do that, they need to be held accountable.”
The law was named after Nitro, a Rottweiler that died from starvation at a Youngstown kennel in 2008. Nitro was one of seven dogs that died. Twelve others were found severely malnourished. The kennel owner was sentenced to four months in jail for four counts of animal cruelty.
Nitro’s owners, Liz Raab and Tom Siesto, released this statement to FOX 8:
“Finally, after all these years of losing Nitro so horrifically in 2008, Nitro and his kennel mates will be able rest in peace,” Raab and Siesto said. “Their deaths are not in vain. This law will make a huge difference and will be built upon to include more and more for the protection of our companion animals, our family members. We can’t begin to thank all the people who helped to make this happen. Thank you to all the people who joined our grassroots effort and never gave up, all who stuck with us through thick and thin. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.”
For nearly five years, animal-rights advocates have fought for the law.
However, some like Hope Brustein say much more needs to be done. Brustein is the executive director of Rescue Village in Geauga County.
“Now, that the next step we need to go is to give higher level penalties, stiffer law for the protection for all companion animals,” she said. “It would put teeth into the law in Ohio. It would be a statement that in Ohio that dogs and cats and other companion animals have a legal right to be protected and be kept safe.”
Animal cruelty is a first-offense felony in 44 other states.
“We need to take a step that shows that we concern for all life, and for animals that means sanctions and laws to protect them,” Brustein said.