Animal Legal News

In an email from Tobin Franks, Tobin let me know that the next Canton City Council meeting will be held this Monday, March 12 at 7 pm in the Canton City Council Chambers located at 218 Cleveland Avenue SW in Canton.

Tobin wrote: “As you may already know, the Animal Control Contract is being brought up for a final vote on Monday the 12th. The Council is suspending their normal rules and will go ahead with all three readings to renew the Animal Control Contract through 12/13/2013. The Council is making this decision just days prior to the Alley Cat Allies Town Hall meeting that is planned for Wednesday, March 14. Additionally, the Council is acting before the existing, amended 90-day contract is set to expire. This is a far cry from making a thoughtful, deliberate decision.”

For Canton Residents: Please attend the City Council meeting on Monday, March 12 and speak out against renewing the contract and voice your favor for the non-lethal alternatives being advocated by Alley Cat Allies. Many people already have raised their voices in opposition, but more are needed. Please be at the Canton City Hall by 7 pm to sign in and then speak out for the cats.

Canton Residents are also needed to write “Letters to the Editor” to the Canton Repository. Here is a link to the Letters to the Editor page that you can use to submit online:

To help you write your letter and have thoughtful speaking points for the Council meeting, take a look at these tips offered by Alley Cat Allies HERE.

A hardcopy petition drive is also being organized and taking place this weekend. If you see the petitioners out in your community, please stop and sign. If you would like to help out with the petitions and can gather signatures, please email Tobin Franks at

Read the Alley Cat Allies press release on the Canton cats HERE.

I recently had the following information emailed to me from Mary O’Connor-Shaver who has played a key part in initiatives to ban puppy mill auctions and puppy mills in Ohio:

Please join advocates from across the state for the second annual Companion Animal Lobby Day in Columbus on Thursday, March 29 from 10-2 PM!
Our second annual Ohio Companion Animal Lobby Day will be action packed – a briefing, luncheon reception, and a rally on the sidewalks in front of The Ohio Statehouse, all of which will provide the perfect grassroots opportunity for us to urge state legislators to recognize animal cruelty, dog auctions, puppy mills and breed-discrimination legislation as serious issues and take action to effectively address them in Ohio.  And – you don’t need to be an expert in lobbying to take part!
There are many new legislators in Ohio as well as seasoned veterans, who do not yet know that Ohio is only one of four states which does not have a first offense felony animal cruelty law.  Ohio is also home to the only dog auction east of the Mississippi which attracts buyers and sellers from 15 states, many of whom have long standing, repeat violations of the Animal Welfare Act or have been convicted of animal cruelty. 

Come meet with volunteers at Booth 401 during the Columbus Pet Expo (March 23-25) to learn more about 2012 Ohio Companion Animal Lobby Day!
Face to face meetings in a relaxed, informal setting are one of the best ways to ensure that legislators hear your message and take action – and you don’t need to be an expert or have any experience in lobbying to take part! We will provide you with everything you need! For just a few hours of your time, you can make a tremendous difference. So please grab a friend and join us!  All Ohio residents are invited!
Here are the basic details of the day:
8:30 A:   Registration Check-in – The Ohio Statehouse, Entrance to Ohio Atrium
(Registrants will receive information and lobbying packets.)

9:45 A:   Welcome – The Ohio Statehouse, Ohio Atrium
Jean Keating
Founder, Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates 

10:00 A: Overview on Ohio’s Companion Animal Bills –  The Ohio Statehouse, Ohio Atrium
John Bell, Esq.
Lead Attorney for Plaintiffs in Class Action Lawsuit Against Donald Dutiel, ‘Wagon Wheel Ranch’ (New Lexington, OH)

10:30 A:  Lobby 101 – The Ohio Statehouse, Ohio Atrium
Mark McGinnis, Esq
McTigue & McGinnis, LLC (Voted by Columbus Monthly as a 2012 ‘Rising Star’ in Political Law)

11:30 A:  Luncheon reception with your state legislators – The Ohio Statehouse, Ohio Atrium
(Reception will include presentation of ‘Best in Show’ awards to individuals and groups who have made a significant contribution to Ohio’s companion animals in 2011)

1:30  P:   Rally for Ohio’s Companion Animals – Sidewalks in Front of The Ohio Statehouse
2012 Citizens-Initiated Statute, Ohio Dog Auctions Act –  To enact Section 955.54 of the Ohio Revised Code to make it unlawful for any person to auction, as defined in R. C. 4707.01, or raffle a dog within Ohio for any purpose.
HB 25 (Rep. Combs) – To amend sections 959.99, 2152.19, 2903.213, 2903.214, 2919.26, 3113.31, 4732.141, and 4757.33 and to enact section 4731.284 of the Revised Code to revise the penalties and sentencing provisions regarding violations of the cruelty to animals statutes and to include the protection of companion animals in temporary protection orders, domestic violence protection orders, anti-stalking protection orders, and related protection orders.
HB 108 (Reps. Gerberry and Hagan) – To amend sections 959.131, 959.132, and 959.99 of the Revised Code to specifically prohibit an owner, manager, or employee of a kennel of dogs from committing cruel treatment of a companion animal, to give a prosecutor who prosecutes an owner, manager, or employee of a kennel of dogs who commits cruel treatment of a companion animal discretion in prosecuting the owner, manager, or employee for the offense, and to remove certain language regarding the negligent treatment of companion animals.
HB 289 (Rep. Goyal) – To enact section 2907.13 of the Revised Code to make bestiality a criminal offense.
HB 290 (Rep. Garland) – To amend section 2903.13 of the Revised Code to specify that an assault against a dog warden, deputy dog warden, humane agent, or animal control officer is a felony of the fifth degree.
HB 300 (Reps. Goyal and Ruhl) – To amend sections 121.40, 955.261, 2913.01, 2913.02, 2921.321, and 3701.04, to enact sections 5502.281 and 5502.282, and to repeal section 121.404 of the Revised Code to provide protections for search and rescue dogs and to make changes to the law regarding emergency volunteers.
If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to visit the websites of these groups who are working hard to reintroduce and pass companion animal bills/ballot initiatives during Ohio’s 129th General Assembly.
Thanks everyone for serving as a strong voice for the animals!  Watch for more details on 2012 Ohio Companion Animal Lobby Day in the upcoming weeks!
Mary O’Connor-Shaver 

LEGISLATIVE ALERTS: Please visit our Home page for pending legislation impacting the welfare of OH animals –

The Canton City Council met on Monday, February 6, on the issue of animal control and the decision of reinstating the contract for Phil Sedlacko. Sedlacko had submitted his resignation the previous week to try to force the Council to make a decision on his contract.

As you can see from the photo to the right, many, many people showed up to ask Council to support saving the Canton cats instead of killing them.

Alley Cat Allies had stepped in and asked City Council for a two week suspension of the renewal of the animal control contract. Alley Cat Allies hoped that during the two week reprieve, they could put together and present a non-lethal plan for Canton’s animal control issues.

However, Council would not agree to the two week suspension and instead voted 10-2 to renew the contract, amending it, however, for 90 days instead of the year initially presented. During the ninety days, Council has agreed to look at Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and other non-lethal methods for, not only feral cats, but the other wildlife that animal control has been killing, as well.

The Canton cats still need our help. Please continue to call, email, and write to the Council members, asking them to support TNR and other non-lethal ways of controlling the cat population. To get their contact info, please visit one of my earlier blog postings on the issue HERE.

To read the original blog posting on the killing of Canton cats, go HERE.

To read all of the issues raised at the Council meeting and watch videos, go HERE.

To read articles in the, go HERE and HERE.

To read the Alley Cat Allies Press Release on the Canton Cats, go HERE.

Thank you again to Tobin Franks for keeping me updated on this issue and to all those kind people, including my friends Jackie, Jerry, and Judi, who have been working for the cats and attending the Council meetings to give the cats a voice.


I recently learned about The Pet Postcard Project while I was researching Nitro’s Law. Nikki Moustaki, who started the site, is also carrying out a campaign in which she plans to eat dog food for one meal a day until Nitro’s Law is passed (she started eating dog food on February 1, 2011).

With The Pet Postcard Project, postcards equal food for animals in shelters and rescues. You make postcards and for each postcard turned in, a pet food company agrees to pledge a certain amount of food to shelters and rescues. “Spokesdogs” or “Spokescats” (groups of people, represented by a cute furry face, such as Girl Scout Troops, clubs, or other organizations) choose a shelter that they want to receive the food and they ask others to help them send in as many postcards as possible.

Your postcards could also help you win cool prizes! Read the contest guidelines HERE.

The postcards are homemade by YOU and must feature a dog or cat in your life. They also must include a “funny, heartwarming, or profound” sentiment. The cards are in one of four categories: confessions/secrets, advice, wishes, or “you know you love your dog/cat when…” Once you have made your postcard, you mail it in an envelope to The Pet Postcard Project, 676A Ninth Ave. #321, New York, NY 10036.

To read the complete guidelines on how to make postcards, go HERE.

Some of the winning postcards also get featured on the web site, so if you are creative, get cracking to help feed hungry animals.


Nitro’s Law (now called HB 108) is a very important animal cruelty law waiting for passage in Ohio. The proposed law acts to create felony provisions for certain types of animal cruelty or provide felony-level penalties even if the crime is not specifically deemed a felony. Sadly, most of Ohio’s animal abuse laws are very outdated and only charge misdemeanor penalties for even the most disgusting animal cruelty.

Nitro’s Law was introduced after 15 dogs were found dead or dying at the High Caliber K-9 boarding kennel near Youngstown in October 2008. One of the dogs that was starved to death was a gentle Rottweiler named Nitro who had been left at the kennel by his beloved family while they helped an ill family member. The owner of the kennel, Steve Croley, received a plea agreement and pled guilty to four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, serving only four months in jail.

Because of this shockingly minor penalty for such a horrendous crime, Nitro’s Law was introduced and is still trying to make its ways through the halls of justice.

The Ohio Criminal Justice Committee held their second hearing about Nitro’s Law on Wednesday, April 6. It is now hoped, after this meeting, that Nitro’s Law will be out of the House and on to the Senate before Easter.

Speaking to the Committee, Nitro’s dad, Tom, said, “Nitro was not a democrat, republican, liberal, or conservative….he was my boy.”

Please continue to write your Ohio representatives and tell them to support this very important animal cruelty legislation. To find your representative, go HERE.

To read more about Nitro’s Law, please visit the Nitro Foundation web site, HERE.

You can also read Dr. Patrick Mahaney’s blog HERE and watch his YouTube video where he eats dog food to show his support of Nitro’s Law. He got this idea from Nikki Moustaki, a dog trainer, who posted a video diary of herself eating dog food and plans to continue eating dog food (she started on February 1, 2011) until Nitro’s Law is passed. Read about her campaign HERE.

Additionally, visit the Nitro Foundation on Facebook and the Nitro Fan page by clicking HERE.

No more dogs should die in Ohio from such disturbing abuse. The only way to stop the cruelty is to make our laws harsh enough that the abusers truly are punished for their actions, so others will think twice knowing there are consequences for their despicable deeds.

I had a posting to Facebook today from Mary O’Connor-Shaver who is working to end the puppy mill dog auctions here in Ohio. As many of you know, Mary and her friends at the Coalition to Ban Dog Auctions are trying to get an initiative on the 2011 ballot to prevent dog auctions in Ohio. Volunteers are gathering signatures before the December 1, 2010 deadline to introduce this measure to Ohio voters. 120,700 signatures are needed. As of June 30, only 19,358 signatures had been collected.

We collected signatures at the garage sale we had in July and we’ve also been collecting signatures at our adoption events.

You can read a very nice article in USA Today about “Animal Activists,” including Mary O’ Connor-Shaver: USA Today article

A meeting at BarkPark on Saturday, October 2, will allow people from Delaware and Franklin counties, as well as the surrounding areas, to learn more about the initiative to ban dog auctions and how to go about gathering the signatures that are needed to present this to voters in 2011. The meeting is being hosted by Lenny and Marcia Perry Rhoades at BarkPark from 1-3 pm. If you would like to attend, you must RSVP by Friday, October 1.

Here is the information that Mary sent, which includes an agenda for the day:

“Subject: Delaware County – Coalition Meeting on the Ohio Dog Auctions Act

“Marcia Perry Rhoades, who with her husband Lenny, are huge animal lovers and supporters of Central Ohio’s humane community. Marcia and Lenny have graciously agreed to host our Delaware/Franklin counties – Coalition Meeting on the Ohio Dog Auctions Act on their private property, BarkPark.

“Through the generous donations of their members and supporters, BarkPark reached their one million dollar goal in the summer of 2009. 100% of the funds raised through BarkPark were donated to 501(c)3 non-profit animal welfare organizations to aid in their effort to save animals and educate the public.

“(Click here to visit the beautiful grounds of their residence)

Sat., October 2, 2010
(R.S.V.P. by Fri., October 1, 2010)

1-3:00 PM EST

Bark Park
6755 Merchant Road
Delaware, OH 43215


“Registered voters in Delaware and Franklin counties who have an interest in supporting the Initiative Petition (Ohio Dog Auctions Act) to ban dog auctions and raffles in Ohio.

Introduce the team who have been instrumental in leading and supporting the ballot initiative (Ohio Dog Auctions Act) campaign for Delaware and Franklin counties.

“Provide attendees with an opportunity to ask questions and engage in meaningful dialogue on the proposed legislation.

“Provide materials and training for supporters interested in serving as Petition Circulators.


“1:00 PM
Welcome and Introduction of Committee Members for Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions and Special Guests

“Marica Perry Rhoades – Founder and Owner of Bark Park

“1:15 PM
Review of Ballot Initiative Campaign – 2009 Results and 2010 Re-Launch

“Mary O’Connor-Shaver – Treasurer, Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions

“1:30 PM
Review of Initiative Petition – Ohio Dog Auctions Act

“Mary O’Connor-Shaver – Treasurer, Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions

“1:45 PM

“Committee Members, Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions

“2:15 PM

“Marica Perry Rhoades – Founder and Owner of Bark Park

“2:30 PM
Training Session for Petition Circulators

“Veronica Dickey – Committee Member, Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions”

To RSVP that you will be attending this meeting, join Ohio Voters Against Puppy Mills and Dog Auctions on Facebook and become friends with Mary Shaver, so you can send a message to let her know you will be attending this.

On Tuesday, July 6, In Defense of Animals (IDA) is asking everyone to join together for an International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs. South Korean dogs are slaughtered and eaten and kept in horrible conditions.

I won’t get too graphic in this article, because my focus has always been to keep animal issues positive. I think many of us who love animals get burnt out and deeply distressed after seeing so many horrible photos and videos of animals in peril. Often, I think, the very people we want to educate are turned off by gruesome pictures. While there is a place for these kinds of things, it is not here on my blog, which I want to keep as a safe zone where people want to visit. I know I cannot force myself to look at photos of animals in pain. The images flash back in my mind over and over and I have nightmares.

So I am just asking you to keep the South Korean dogs in your thoughts on July 6. These dogs suffer endlessly as there is a belief that the more pain and torture the dogs go through prior to death, the more “virility” a man obtains from eating the meat.

To read more about the International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs, visit IDA’s blog site: Help South Korean Dogs

If you can stomach the photos, there are images of a dramatic rescue of some of these dogs on IDA’s site.

On July 6, please join activists around the world and send good thoughts and much love to the South Korean dogs.

Additionally, you can sign a petition to express your concern and ask that these dogs stop being tortured: Stop Killing Dogs Petition

The groups, United Dogs and Cats joined with Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA), responsible for this petition are trying to gather one million signatures to present to the South Korean government. They are about halfway there, so please add your signature, as well.

To learn more about IDA and other issues they support, you can also visit their web site: In Defense of Animals

McKenzie’s Law is named for the little Scottish Terrier in the picture above, who is a “puppy mill survivor.” This law is being sponsored by Rep. Cheryl Grossman, who is working with SK 9 Scotties, the Animal Law Coalition, and the people across Ohio who are trying to stop dog auctions and puppy mills by getting initiatives on ballots for voters. 

This potential law needs our support and you can give it by downloading and signing the Endorsement Form for McKenzie’s Law (the link is at the end of this posting).

In an email from Mary Shaver, who is leading the movement to stop Ohio dog auctions, she explained the benefits of McKenzie’s Law:


“There are less than 200 Ohio commercial dog breeding kennels licensed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, but there are hundreds more of these facilities in the state. Kennels that sell dogs directly to the public through ads or over the internet are not regulated by USDA and more are coming to Ohio each year. One commercial dog breeder claims in his county, Holmes County, the puppy mill industry earns $9 million annually. That is in just one Ohio County. The state and local government did not receive, however, tax revenue from those sales of dogs.


“(1) would use the present government entities, eliminating any additional cost to state and county government.

“(2) bring tax revenue into the State of Ohio and into county and city government as well.

“(3) will ensure the state and local government receive their share of tax revenues from these business.

“(4) allows state and local government to monitor and regulate commercial dog breeders ensuring tax revenues are collected.

“(5) limits commercial breeders to 50 breeding dogs which will make enforcement of standards possible and could reduce costs to county and city shelters.

“(6) protects hobby breeders.

“(7) protects reputable commercial dog breeders.

“(8) protects the consumer from commercial dog breeders or pet stores that sell puppies that are sick, diseased or have congenital defects or behavior problems.

“(9) requires all commercial kennels with more than five (5) breeding dogs to meet minimum standards of care.

“(10) does not have complicated, expensive state licensing and registration scheming.

“(11) restricts one kennel per property address.

“(12) would improve breeding dogs living conditions.

“(13) would require all commercial breeders obtain a business vendors license and report and pay sales tax on revenues collected on the sales. (ORC 5739.01 (B) (1) and ORC 5701.03 (A).

“(14) would require any Ohio commercials dog breeder with five (5) breeding dogs to obtain a local kennel license or zoning permit.

“(15) would eliminate dog auctions (WOOHOO!)

“(16) would provide for broad enforcement and cross-reporting 

“We are excited about McKenzie’s Law and feel confident the proposed legislation will end the suffering of the dogs, however we need your support! 

“Please take a moment and download the Endorsement Form available by visiting:;”

You can also read more about this law on The Animal Law Coalition’s Site. McKenzie’s Law is just one more step in the journey to stop puppy mills. 

Please download the Endorsement Form, fill it out, and send it back in. Changing our legislation can help thousands of animals.

I just had really good news from Kellie DiFrischia who works on puppy mill issues for Columbus Dog Connection. The Puppy Mill Bill, Senate Bill 95, passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee by a vote of 7 to 1. This bill has been around for four years and it has never made it this far. 

Senate Bill 95 would regulate kennels that produce at least nine litters of puppies and sell sixty or more dogs in a year. It would also create a new Kennel Control Authority Board to regulate the law and conduct inspections to hopefully stop the mistreatment of dogs and puppies in “puppy mills.” 

The next step according to Kellie is to bring the bill to the Senate Floor for a vote. Kellie is hoping that with enough public outcry, the bill can reach the floor this week or next. To do that, requires participation by everyone reading this. 

To push the bill closer to being a law, Kellie is asking that everyone send an email or make a call to ask that the bill continue to move and reach the full Senate this week. Please ask your State Senator to get the bill to the Senate Floor and vote YES for Senate Bill 95 (aka: “the Puppy Mill Bill”).  This bill is co-sponsored by Senators Hughes and Cates. 

Please copy Senate President Bill Harris on any emails to your Senator, as Senator Harris will decide which bills are heard on the Senate Floor. Senate President Harris can be emailed at:

Kellie also advises that if you email or call to include your land mail address so the senators will know that you live in their district and are a constituent. 

To find your State Senator by zip code:

This is a complete listing of Senate Members and their emails:

Senate Members

Steve Buehrer,,

Mark Wagoner,

David Goodman,

Gary Cates,

Fred Strahorn,

Jon Husted,

Shannon Jones,

Bill Seitz,

Eric Kearney,

Chris Widener,

Teresa Fedor,

Keith Faber,

Sue Morano,

Tom Niehaus,

Ray Miller,

Jim Hughes,

John Carey,

Tim Grendell,

Bill Harris,

Jimmy Stewart,

Shirley Smith,

Bob Gibbs,

Dale Miller,

Tom Patton, 

Nina Turner,

Karen Gillmor,

Kevin Goughlin,

Tom Sawyer,

Kirk Schuring,

Jason Wilson,

Tim Schaffer,

Capri Cafaro,

Joe Schiavoni,


The Ohio House of Representatives Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will have a hearing for H. B. 79 on Wednesday, April 14, at 9:30 am in the Statehouse in Columbus, Room 18. H. B. 79 would repeal the Ohio law that defines pit bulls as “vicious” simply because of their breed.

If you can attend the hearing, please do, as we need to overturn this breed discrimination law in Ohio. If you cannot attend, please write, call, or fax the committee members and ask them to vote YES on H. B. 79. To find info on the committee members, go to: Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

To find out more about H. B. 79, please visit: Animal Law Coalition

Please take the time to contact the Committee members and urge them to Vote YES!

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