CLEVELAND (WJW) — The vote that could make the punishment for neglect or harm of a pet more severe could happen as early as today.

The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing Tuesday, passing Goddard’s Law, or Senate Bill 164, for a vote in the full House.

The law was named after Fox 8 Meteorologist Dick Goddard. It was signed into law in 2016 and made neglect or harm of a pet a fifth-degree felony.

Goddard, a longtime champion for the “four-foots,” pushed for the bill’s passage for several years.

If Senate Bill 164 becomes law, the most egregious fifth-degree felony offenses committed against companion animals under current law will be classified as “acts of violence,” according to the Animal Protective League of Ohio.

This will make more convictions non-expungable, which means they will remain on the offender’s criminal record for life and allow law enforcement and the courts to identify these offenders.

Also, this classification would remove the existing presumption against incarceration for these offenses and allows judges to have discretion in sentencing.

The bill also includes a provision to prohibit the killing of domestic animals using a gas chamber.

The APL is urging Ohioans to contact their local representatives to help get the bill passed.

“The link between animal abuse and violence towards humans has been well-documented,” the APL said in a press release. “By allowing judges to contemplate prison time for these very serious crimes and keeping these most egregious offenses on the offender’s criminal record, the state will be acknowledging this critical correlation. Not only will this law enhance protections for companion animals, but also for people and society.”