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Excitement Felt After ‘Goddard’s Law’ Jumps Big Hurdle

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COLUMBUS-- House Bill 274, known as 'Goddard's Law', passed the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 9-0 on Wednesday night.

"I'm just excited because that's a big hurdle to come out of committee with a recommended passage and that's what just happened," said Rep. Bill Patmon, D-Cleveland.

Rep. Patmon co-sponsored the legislation with Rep. Barbara Sears, R-Monclova Township.

If signed into law, it would redefine companion animal abuse in Ohio and make some cases a felony. Currently, most cases of abuse -- even some of the most severe cases -- are misdemeanors.

"These legislators know it's time, too, and with Mr. Goddard backing this bill, I think they're really paying attention, which is good," said Amy Beichler from the Public Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS Ohio. The organization has worked tirelessly with FOX 8's Dick Goddard to pass the measure. Goddard is a long-time animal advocate who has devoted his career to the cause.

Supporters gathered in the hearing room to show their support for Goddard's Law, including Veronica Dickey from Jackson Township.

"If we can stop animal abuse, if we can stop the abuse at the level of the animals, we can really prevent a lot of child abuse as well as prevent domestic violence," said Dickey.

While many spoke in favor of the bill, opponents were offered time to share their concerns on Wednesday night during the third and final hearing before the committee.  The only opposition came in writing from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.

Their statement reads, in part, "Our members feel that the current first degree misdemeanor penalty for these offenses is adequate. We have not done a study on it, but we doubt that judges are fully utilizing the penalties that are available to them under current law... Bills like these, if enacted, add costs not only to the prosecutors' offices but to all aspects of the justice system when there is no real need to do so."

Dick Goddard disagrees and told FOX 8's Mark Zinni, "Everyone who had anything to do with this needs to be congratulated. We're not quite there, but we're close!"

"He's a hero; he really is," said Columbus resident and supporter Zaron Van Meter.  "He's a real dog advocate and animal advocate and I think it's wonderful that he's behind it, brought this forward. We need it and I hope it goes through rather quickly; I really do."

The bill now moves to the full Ohio House of Representatives where the bi-partisan support almost certainly means it will pass. Then it moves to the Ohio Senate where the fate of Goddard's Law remains unclear.

Stay with FOX 8 News and FOX8.com for the latest and CLICK HERE for more stories on 'Goddard's Law.'

12 comments

  • Dianne Masino

    Thank you .. we must stop all the abuse happening in this world towards our innocent animals. I am speaking for farm animals, dogs, cats and puppy mills..

  • Chris Barksdale (@cleveoh44120)

    America is descending into madness, Ohio’s “machinery of social and civil death” General Assembly chills “any vestige of a robust democracy.” Zombie Politics now imposes felonies on people for animal injury where such injury is not prohibited by Ohio’s Constitution Dick Goddard push is an example of a growing culture of sadism, cruelty, disposability, of people and death of America. The zombie metaphor may seem extreme, but it is particularly apt for drawing attention to the ways in which political culture and power in American society now operate on a level of mere survival. Dog Lovers used the symbolic face of power: beginning and ending with authoritarianism, in attempts to legislate their views of social conduct, by use of zombie politics, the emergence of right-wing teaching machines, Animal Protective League teach People views that people are disposable, are ongoing war being legislated or waged on poor people, especially on people of color. Who will disproportionately be arrested clogging already overcrowded prisons. Costing Taxpayers Millions of Dollars. We need to break through the poisonous common sense that often masks zombie politicians Dog Rights Bill,of Rights against People,by common sense, against the Animal Protective League social conduct laws, the new language, of the DOG Law pedagogy, and politics in which the living dead decisively legislate to the margins of Ohio citizens (Black people and Poor whites) rather than to rich people (Dick Goddard) occupying the very center of politics and everyday life, is unconstitutional the Ohio Constitution and US Constitution guarantees civil liberties of people not dogs, or animals.

    • Larissa

      Wow, sir, you are the problem with this country. Not dog lovers. So you’re honestly saying that animal cruelty is not prohibited by the Ohio Constitution and therefore is okay? What does THAT kind of thinking do to the society you’re so worried about? Do you not understand that in order for people to flourish, they MUST be taught to respect the lowest forms of life. If people are kind to animals, they are kind to people. The opposite isn’t necessarily true. People who are capable of enjoying an animal’s pain are A DANGER TO HUMANS. Why is this such a difficult concept? I have never in my life met someone who is cruel to animals who is also a decent human being. We need to ensure that animals, who are absolutely at the mercy of humans, don’t suffer. They have emotions and they feel pain just like humans. So why should they not be protected? None of this protection takes anything away from humans, so what is your issue? I agree that the U.S. is descending into madness, but it isn’t because of animal lovers. So you don’t have the right to torture an animal. Boo hoo. Funny how animals love unconditionally and never stab you in the back…but humans…their greed, cruelty, and callousness know no bounds.

  • Paula Banas

    FINALLY …someone out there cares that can make a difference for these animals! Many of us care, but are not in the position to make changes on our own, unfortunately! Pam & Dick, along with the Representatives that made this happen….thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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