Work continues to increase penalties established by Goddard’s Law

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(Watch in the video player above Amy Beichler, the director of the Public Animal Welfare Society of Ohio, talk about the push for more severe animal abuse penalties.)

CLEVELAND (WJW)– Animal advocates in Ohio continue to push for increased penalties for those who abuse companion animals.

Goddard’s Law, which was named for FOX 8 meteorologist Dick Goddard, was signed into law in 2016. It 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. He passed away on Aug. 4, 2020 with legislation still pending that would further up the punishments for animal abuse.

Dick Goddard stands as then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich signs Goddard’s Law

The latest legislation, Senate Bill 164, was introduced in April and remains in the agriculture and natural resources committee. It would elevate the charge of physical harm to a companion animal to a fourth-degree felony, which means more possible jail time for offenders.

It also includes a provision to prohibit the killing of domestic animals using a gas chamber. In June, Ohio’s last remaining gas chamber at an animal shelter was removed.

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