Ohio Valley Dog Owners, Inc.

Protecting dogs, dog owners and our neighbors
through education and community service

The ruling is in, and Louisville Kennel Club prevails on bond requirement

The 6th District Federal Court has affirmed that dogs are personal property and cannot be disposed of by governments before a finding of guilty in an impoundment case. The ruling came in Louisville Kennel Club et al v Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, a challenge to several provisions of the government's animal control law. The court agreed with the plaintiffs that the requirement to post a bond for animal care before the dog owner was convicted of a violation is unconstitutional.

The court also affirmed the LKC position that a provision requiring written approval of an enclosure to confine an intact dog and warrantless searches are violations of the US Constitution. The court decision is here.

In the hopper (2009-10)

These bills died at the end of December 2010 but are likely
to be reintroduced in some form in 2011-12.

HB 55: A bill to increase penalties for animal cruelty, include family pets in domestic violence protection orders, and provide for counseling for minors convicted of animal cruelty. Contact Representative Brian Williams at district59@ohr.state.oh.us for information. OVDO submitted interested party testimony on the bill via letter to the criminal justice committee and supported the addition of HB 55 to this bill.

HB70: A bill to increase penalties for animal cruelty or neglect at breeding kennels. HB 70 raises the penalty for neglect to a felony, a higher penalty than that for intentional cruelty. It has been amended to apply the higher penalty only to kennel owners found in violation of the state's cruelty law. It has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. HB 70 has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. OVDO opposed this bill.

HB 79: A bill to REMOVE breed specific language from Ohio law. Contact bill sponsor Representative Barbara Sears at district46@ohr.state.oh.us for information. This bill has been folded into HB 55, which has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

HB 175: A bill to require accountability for humane agent training.Contact Representative Ronald Gerberry at district59@ohr.state.oh.us for information. This bill has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. OVDO supporeds this bill to close a loophole in the law that requires humane agent training but does not require proof that the training has been completed. This gap has allowed humane agents to avoid the law and has resulted in poor enforcement practices.

Victory in 2008

The 127th Ohio Senate adjourned Thursday, December 16, without a vote on HB 446, the 100+-page overhaul of state animal control law that contained anti-breeder provisions.

If approved as passed by the House, HB 446 would have raised kennel license fees by mandating individual licenses for every dog - a huge tax increase that would hit everyone who holds a kennel license!!

HB 446 had six hearings in the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee and was amended several times as the sponsor attempted to satisfy the opposition of breeders, cat owners, dog wardens, and others who would be affected by its provisions.

A broad coalition of animal owners defeated HB446. Along with many indivisual breeders and owners who testified in committee hearings or contacted their state lawmakers, we owe a big "Thank You" to the Ohio Association of Animal Owners, the Ohio Gamefowl Breeders Association, the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association and America's Pet Registry Inc. We also thank the NRA, the US Sportsman's Association, the American Sporting Dog Alliance and the Ohio Federation of Dog Clubs for their help. We did not work directly with the latter groups but appreciate their contributions to the bill's defeat.

Senators who helped kill the bill included Tom Roberts (District 5), Teresa Fedor (District 11), John Boccieri (District 33), Timothy Grendell (District 18) andTom Niehaus (District 14), members of the Republican caucus who opposed bringing the bill up for a vote, and members of the Democratic caucus who decided to vote against the bill if it came up for a vote.

Senators who supported ths attempt to overtax dog breeders include Gary Cates (District 4), Robert Schuler (District 7), Bill Seitz (District 8), John Carey (District 17), and Mark Wagoner (District 2). Representative Shawn Webster DVM introduced the bill. He was prohibited from running for another term by Ohio's term limit law.

The bill is available at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=127_HB_446

OVDO's letter to the sponsor is here.

OVDO House testimony is here and here. Senate testimony is here and here and here. Our letter to all senators is here.

Breeder licensing bills die as legislative session ends

SB 173 and HB 223 were almost identical bills that imposed state regulation on breeding kennels with more than eight intact adult dogs. The bills were drafted by anti-breeding activists who have promised to come back in 2009.

HB 223/ SB 173 placed high financial & regulatory burdens on owners with more than eight intact adult dogs regardless of kennel conditions.

October 11, 2007: HB 223 opponents packed two hearing rooms in the bill's third hearing before the Ohio State Government & Elections Committee. Read the OVDO testimony.

May 22, 2008: The comittee suspended the hearing on HB 223 when time ran out. Testimony will resume at a later date. OVDO testimony was entered into the record. (That 'later date' never arrived as the committee chairman Representative David Daniels declined to schedule another hearing.)

Two pit bull bills die in 2007-08 legislative session

HB 366 would have eliminated breed specific language in state law.
HB 568
took the opposite tack
by proposing a ban on new pit bulls
and death to those remaining in Ohio after the bill took effect.

The judges speak: Toledo's pit bull restrictions pass court muster

State Supreme Court decision*

Will the decision encourage lawmakers to rewrite the state's unconstitutional vicious dog law? Or will breed restrictions and bans continue to proliferate?

Breed-specific laws continue to be a hot topic throughout the state. While some cities opt for bans, others, including the Columbus suburb of Whitehall, reject prohibitions in favor of general vicious dog laws. Following a decision to train police officers to identify pit bulls, Cincinnati City Council accepted two motions that could result in the ban being lifted. One motion re-establishes the Vicious Dog Legislative Task Force to draft legislation to punish irresponsible dog owners; the other outlines a registration program that would allow responsible owners to keep their dogs. If the motions go forward, the task force report would be due on August 1.

* The plaintiff in the case petitioned the US Supreme Court for a hearing, but the petition was denied.

HB 71 tightens penalties on dog fighting

Substitute HB 71 began as an attempt to strengthen laws against dog and cock fighting but morphed into a drive to repeal due process for people accused of animal cruelty.

OVDO opposed this dangerous bill because it assumed that cruelty accusations equal cruelty conviction. The Senate committee amended the bill to return most of the due process provisions before sending it to the full Senate for a vote. Unfortunately, the final bill fails to return the bond money to the owner of an unlicensed dog who is acquitted of more serious charges of cruelty or dog fighting that prompted the authorities to impound the animal and the court to require a bond before disposition of the case.

The substitute bill became law on September 30, 2008.

In the hopper, 2007-08
These bills affecting animals and animal owners have also been introduced
in the 2007-2008 session of the Ohio State Legislature.

  • HB 22: Increases penalties for animal cruelty and requires counseling for minors convicted of animal abuse. (Failed)
  • HB 45: Restricts exotic animal ownership. (Failed)
  • HB 281: Amends the process for determining fair market value of animals killed by a dog. (Became law on August 22, 2008)
  • HB 352: Adds alpacas to the definition of livestock. (Became law on August 6, 2008)
  • HB 415: Increases penalties for animal fighting, allows for sale of equipment and forfeiture of cash confiscated in raids with proceeds used for care of impounded animals and education to decrease animal fighting. (Failed)
  • HB 418: Increases penalties for animal cruelty, provides for probation for felony animal abusers, requires counseling for minors convicted of animal abuse, and expands protection orders in domestic abuse cases to include pets. (Failed)

Louisville plaintiffs file summary judgement petition in federal court

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Louisville City Council rewrite of the city's dangerous dog law have asked a federal court to decide in its favor without hearing further arguments.

Lawyers for the Louisville Kennel Club and other plaintiffs filed a summary judgement petition that argues that several provisions of the law are unconstitutional and that these provisions make the remaining language of the law impossible to enforce. The filing also takes issue with the city's hiring of veterinarian Gilles Miloche as the director of its animal control division as illegal under Kentucky law. Dr. Meloche not only is not a US citizen as required by law, but he is also ineligible to become a peace officer in Kentucky on other grounds according to the petition.

NAIA promotes responsible animal ownership and use, exposes the arrogance and danger of the animal rights movement, and encourages lawmakers and regulators to include responsible animal owners in their deliberations. Visit the NAIA website at http://www.naiaonline.org

See these NAIA articles for more information: From firearms to Fido: "Feel Good" Laws Make Things Worse, and the NAIA Guide to Pet Friendly Ordinances


Membership information

OVDO home page     Contact Ohio Valley Dog Owners at ovdog01@canismajor.com

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