Ohio Legislative Service Commission: A new Ohio law is being debated which provides protection for pets belonging to domestic violence victims. This is very important because anyone who follows cat news will be aware that a lot of the time pets, often cats, are used as pawns in a hostile domestic environment. There are many examples of men hurting and killing cats belonging to their former female partner or spouse during a bust up. It is a way of hurting them emotionally.
Also people sometimes remain in abusive relationships when they are concerned about the safety of a companion animal.
The bill (a draft statute) is Senate Bill 177. It is sponsored by Sen. Jim Hughes (Republican) and Sen. Michael Skindell (Democrat). As I see it, the proposed law is a cross-party initiative, which is the way it should be when it comes to companion animals. This is an apolitical subject.
Under Bill 177 a companion animal is described as, “any animal that is kept inside a residential dwelling, and any dog or cat regardless of where it is kept.”
The new law-to-be allows a judge to make an order that offenders are:
“not to remove, damage, hide, harm or dispose of any companion animal owned or possessed by the person who is being protected”.
Historically, the person being protected will often be a wife, former wife, female partner and girlfriend et cetera.
It appears that the barrier to making such an order under existing law is because judges may have considered companion animals “property”. This is interesting because under the law in the USA cats and dogs are considered a ‘chattel’, no more that an inanimate object like a toaster. It is the same in the UK and, I am sure, elsewhere.
This new law, therefore, takes the companion animal out of that category and adds some rights; the right to be protected under defined circumstances. This is clearly a very welcome advancement in the law and how the law perceived pets. It is long overdue.
There is no opposition to the bill. It has been supported by a raft of Ohio organizations such as the Ohio Domestic Violence Network and the Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio.
Ohio is ranked a in the middle tier of best states for animals as at 2012. Perhaps this will improve their ranking.
- Link to the Bill in full (PDF file).
- Source: New law
- Years ago Elisa wrote an article: Ohio is tired of animal cruelty.