COLUMBUS, OH -- 'Goddard's Law' is heading to the Ohio Senate after it passed in the Ohio House of Representatives Wednesday.
The fight will now shift to the Ohio Senate where it must pass in order to become a law. If passed, the bill would redefine companion animal abuse in Ohio, where there are few felony provisions for extreme cases of abuse.
The legislation is named after FOX 8's Dick Goddard. Throughout his more than five-decade long career at WJW-TV, Goddard has been an advocate for animals.
"He's a hero, he really is - 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," Zaron Van Meter from Columbus previously told FOX 8's Mark Zinni.
The main sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Bill Patmon, D-Cleveland, had a last-minute meeting with the republican caucus in the House. An amendment was added to the bill that would remove 'accidental negligence' from the felony category. That change would exclude someone from a felony charge if they accidentally allow a companion animal to die while in their care.
Rep. Barbara Sears, R-Monclova Township, was a cosponsor of HB 274.
"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 PAWS Ohio.
According to a summary of the bill issued on Wednesday, "HB 274 amends sections 959.131, 959.132 and 959.99 and to enact section 4741.05 of the Revised Code to revise provisions and penalties regarding treatment of companion animals, to revise the definition of 'companion animal' in the Offenses Relating to Domestic Animals Law, and to provide a state collaborative effort to assist veterinarians in identifying clients who may use their animals to secure opioids for abuse."
Animal advocates from PAWS Ohio and other organizations are encouraging voters who support the measure to start contacting their state senator.
Locate your legislator by clicking here.
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