Tell State to Strengthen Animal Cruelty Penalties

Target: Ohio Lawmakers

Goal: Strengthen animal cruelty charges

In Ohio, no matter whether the animal cruelty charge is hanging an animal, torturing an animal, or struggling to feed an animal after a lost job, the penalty is the same: a misdemeanor. The penalties need to be changed based on the severity of the crime, and animal cruelty needs to be made a felony.

Ohio’s lax laws on animal cruelty place the state 34th in the Animal Legal Defense Fund 2012 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings. It took years and a tremendous outpouring of support before Nitro’s Law finally passed in Ohio to make animal cruelty a felony for kennel owners, operators and employees. Nitro’s Law protects animals wherever a kennel license is in effect with the exception of large breeding facility, most likely a puppy mill. That means any facility that holds a commercial kennel license, whether it be a boarding, training, breeder, rescue facility. But animal cruelty is still not a felony for most people.

For example, Phillip McClay brutally killed a stray cat. The Ohio man beat the cat, broke its neck, and as if that wasn’t enough, he then hanged then shot the cat. McClay was charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. Cases like these show that animal cruelty should be made a felony.

Currently, under Ohio law, second-degree misdemeanor penalty is up to ninety days in jail or a $750 fine. If the laws were to change animal abuse to a fifth-degree felony, the minimum penalty would be six months in jail. For animal abusers like Phillip McClay, six months in jail is not enough to cover his crimes, and the current penalty of up to ninety days in jail or $750 is a mere pittance. Tell Ohio to rethink their current animal abuse penalties and make animal abuse a felony in all cases.


Dear Ohio lawmakers,

The current penalty for most people on a charge of animal abuse is a misdemeanor unless the people charged are a commercial facility with a kennel license. This is not a harsh enough penalty. People do heinous things to animals, and getting off with such little penalty is ridiculous.

Please do right by the animals and increase the penalty for animal cruelty. Making it a felony would at least get most animal abusers off the streets and protect other helpless animals from crossing paths with these monsters.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Nikita Kravchuk via Flickr

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