COLUMBUS, Ohio-- In a continuing effort to help pass tougher animal cruelty laws in the state, FOX 8's Dick Goddard met with lawmakers at the Ohio Statehouse on Monday.
"My parents taught me respect for animals and too many people have no respect," said Goddard, who has devoted most of his 50-year career at WJW-TV to educating the community about animal-related causes, which is why the bill is being referred to as Goddard's Law.
If passed, it would redefine companion animal abuse in the state. Right now in Ohio, most cases are first-degree misdemeanors and punishable with little to no time in jail.
"I don't care whose name is on it, we need to get this legislation going and we have a lot of wonderful people down here in Columbus and in our viewing area that would support an upgrade of the penalty for animal cruelty, we need that," said Goddard.
The legislation is still being written with the assistance of Representative Bill Patmon, a Democrat from Ohio House District 10 in Cleveland. Rep. Patmon is building support from fellow lawmakers to make some cases of animal abuse a felony.
"The meeting was very fruitful. We have some good ideas and I look forward to bringing Ohio into the 21st century as it relates to our animals and the punishment relating to them," said Patmon, following Monday's meeting in Columbus.
According to Patmon, seven bills aimed at changing the law haven’t gone anywhere in Columbus, but he’s committed to Goddard’s Law. "We are coming together with a better law for Ohio because we remain at the bottom as it relates to how we treat our animals as it relates to other states," said Rep. Patmon.
The Public Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS Ohio, is working in conjunction with Rep. Patmon. They've been at the forefront of the legislative battle for years and remain committed to the cause along with Mr. Goddard.
"He wants this. He wants it on behalf of animals. We want it on behalf of animals. Ohio, do you want it on behalf of animals? Take the time! Take the time," said Amy Beichler from PAWS.
Supporters of the legislation are encouraging every concerned Ohioan to contact their local legislator and urge them to learn more about the bill.
"We're asking people to sign letters and send those letters to their representative, according to Rep. Patmon," said Mr. Goddard. "That is much more effective than doing a petition, it's a more personal approach."
The measure will be moving through the Ohio House over the next few months.
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