CLEVELAND – They are our best friends.
But companion animals sometimes get into the wrong hands; defenseless against neglect and abuses.
But it was one year ago, dogs and cats received the greatest protection Ohio…all thanks to one of their biggest champions, Dick Goddard.
"We've got to pass a law that puts teeth into the penalty for companion animal abuse."
The legendary FOX 8 meteorologist was one of many who spearheaded the movement for change, and the Ohio legislature did just that.
They increased the penalty for companion animal abuse from a misdemeanor to a felony.
State Representative Bill Patmon of Cleveland sponsored House Bill 60 that became law and admits to having difficulty passing it, in years past…that is until Mr. Goddard came on board.
"And once his name was on the bill, immediately the take notice of it was there, it was just a lot easier , I spend the first two years figuring it out. The next year and a half working with him and got it done. Signed by the governor, the law, people being prosecuted,” said Patmon.
Soon after Goddard’s law was on the books, Deanna Caraballo, 20, became the first person sentenced to prison for throwing a 6-week old puppy on the ground, breaking the puppy’s neck.
In court, Caraballo said, “I'm really sorry for what I did. That's not the type of person that I am. If I could give life back to that puppy, I really would."
And there have been several others charged as well; stringent jail time and penalties all made possible by a man who has made it his legacy to protect the four-foots.
Last year Goddard said, “I promote animal welfare. That's my goal. . And before I go to the theme park in the sky, I want to do all I can for the four foots."