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COLUMBUS, Ohio–On Monday, Goddard’s Law was assigned a bill number, 274, by the clerk’s office in the Ohio House of Representatives.

It also received bipartisan support from Toledo-area Representative Barbara Sears who became a joint-sponsor of the measure.

The bill, named after FOX 8’s Dick Goddard, would redefine companion animal abuse in Ohio, where animal advocates say the laws are weak on serious abusers.

“We are finding just incredible amounts of documentable proof that those who abuse animals, many of them who go on to abuse humans and children, so it’s important to really start to crack down on this so we can get ahead of this issue,” said Rep. Sears, R-House District 47.

“There are thousands and thousands and thousands of folks who are encouraged by what we have done thus far and we are only able to get this done with their help,” said State Representative Bill Patmon, D-Cleveland, during a meeting with supporters last week.

Rep. Patmon is the main backer of the bill and has been working with FOX 8’s Dick Goddard and the Public Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS Ohio, to pass the legislation.

Right now in Ohio, most cases are first-degree misdemeanors and punishable with little to no time in jail.

Supporters of the legislation are encouraging every concerned Ohioan to contact their local legislator and urge them to learn more about the bill.

CLICK HERE to find your representative.