MINERVA, Ohio – On Wednesday, the Ohio House of Representatives will debate HB 274, known as Goddard’s Law. The bill, if passed, would redefine companion animal abuse in Ohio, where there are few felony provisions for extreme cases of abuse.
“Everyone who had anything to do with this needs to be congratulated. We’re not quite there, but we’re close,” said FOX 8’s Dick Goddard after the bill cleared a committee hearing last week.
If Goddard’s Law clears the House on Wednesday, the fight will shift to the Ohio Senate where passage would almost guarantee it would become the law, which is what Nicole Ake is hoping for. Ake is caring for a cat that was shot by an unknown person. The animal has undergone multiple medical procedures.
“It went in and it fractured her hip so now she has a little bit of a hip problem and now it’s moving through; it’s lodged inside of her skin,” said Ake, who is a strong supporter of Goddard’s Law.
“I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s fantastic,” said Ake. “Too many animals are abandoned, are hurt, are harmed and for Dick Goddard to try and pass this law. If telling her story can help pass this law, I will tell the story to the world.”
While that particular attack on an animal wouldn’t fall into a felony category, Ake is pleased to see more severe cases of abuse could be punishable with more time in jail and increased fines.
“It’s very upsetting that anybody could even think about doing any kind of harm to any kind of animal. I mean animals, they don't do anything to us,” said Ake.
Dr. Paul Buck is a veterinarian at County Line Veterinary Service in Minerva where he’s caring for Ake’s injured cat. He, too, supports Goddard’s Law as long as some rights are protected.
“We’re very rural out here. You have farmers and they’ve got livestock to protect. It’s easy to get mad at somebody over something we consider abuse, but they're looking at their livelihoods,” said Dr. Buck.
That concern is why Goddard’s Law would exclude farmers and people in more rural communities. Rep. Bill Patmon, the key sponsor of the legislation, previously told FOX 8’s Mark Zinni that such a provision was crucial for the bill to move forward.
“They [farmers] don’t want anybody trampling on their rights to do what they will with their farm animals, which is a reasonable expectation because 90% of this happens in urban areas,” said Patmon.
Wednesday’s legislative session begins at 1:30 in Columbus. Stay with FOX 8 News and FOX8.com for developments.
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