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Petition To Make Ohio's Animal Abuse Laws Tougher
MONTGOMERY COUNTY -- Cracking down on animal abuse. Thousands of supporters are calling for tougher animal protection laws in Ohio. After hearing about several recent cases of severe animal abuse in the Miami Valley, a woman who lives more than 700 miles away started a petition on Change.org. It's a call for Ohio to strengthen animal abuse laws. And already, about 23,000 people have signed it.
We've shown you the horrific pictures and video of case after case of animal cruelty and neglect. Dogs starved to the bone, forced to live in filthy conditions, their bodies riddled with parasites and disease.
Some of the abused animals survive and are now recovering in a shelter. But not all of them do. Live or die, in most cases, the charge is only a misdemeanor in Ohio.
"Animal abuse is a gateway crime. There's a defined link between child abuse, elder abuse, domestic abuse," said Mont. County Animal Resource Director Mark Kumpf.
Kumpf says the punishment for a first-offense animal abuse-related charge is typically a suspended sentence and waived fines.
"In many cases courts tend to find animal cases and animal cruelty laws aren't important as crimes against people. They tend to look at it as just a dog," he said.
We did some digging and found out, nationwide, Ohio ranks 34th when it comes to animal protection laws. Not terrible, but there is definitely room for improvement.
Some local animal rights advocates hope to encourage change in Ohio's animal cruelty laws. They want it to be a felony on the first offense and judges to impose harsher penalties. That's why they joined almost 23,000 others and signed an online petition. It was started in honor of Joseph, a severely abused German shepherd from Middletown.
"People that do this type of thing will continue to do this because the punishment does not fit the crime. Basically all they get is a small fine and a slap on the wrist," said animal rights advocate Jennifer Kelly.
Kumpf also says the wording in the animal abuse laws need to be more specific, which will help with charging and sentencing suspects.
The state with the best animal protection laws is Illinois, the worst is Kentucky.
If you would like to read the entire petition, click this link: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-honorable-judge-wall-middletown-oh-and-the-ohio-state-legislature-pass-tougher-laws-against-torture-neglect-abuse-of-companion-animals-in-ohio?share_id=hbFDUSuypB&utm_campaign=share_button_action_box&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition
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