The Ohio Animal Welfare Federation hosted our first, in-person Advocacy Day at the Statehouse on Thursday, May 19, 2022. We enjoyed the opportunity to talk about Ohio Fed over breakfast and discuss Senate Bill 164 in meetings with legislators and staff.
Special thanks to Senate President Pro Tempore Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) for stopping by to talk about his sponsorship of SB 164, which seeks to ban the antiquated use of gas chambers to euthanize domestic animals and designate the most egregious felony and first-degree misdemeanor animal cruelty offenses as “violent offenses.” This "violent" designation would give judges discretion in sentencing prison time and would make the conviction non-sealable, meaning it would remain on the offender’s criminal record for life.
Sen. Hottinger and Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) have worked tirelessly on this bill, and we are happy to report that it passed the Senate UNANIMOUSLY on June 1! Now it's on to the House for committee referral. We have high hopes that the bill will get across the finish line this session.
While in legislative meetings, we also discussed legislation being drafted by the Cleveland Animal Protective League that would incentivize landlords to offer pet-friendly rentals. The idea for this concept came from the work on housing insecurity and pets that the Cleveland APL and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are working on, and both HSUS and the Ohio Animal Welfare Federation conceptually support the bill.
Under the legislation, landlords will be provided with a $200 nonrefundable credit per rental unit against their aggregate tax liability for each tenant that is permitted to reside with a companion animal. The credit is capped at $2,000 per year per taxpayer. To qualify, the landlord may not charge a nonrefundable fee or additional rent related to the companion animals living at the property, and may not reject dogs based on breed or size. A list of these pet-friendly rentals will be published on the Ohio Department of Taxation's website.
While still in the early stages, the legislators we met with were generally supportive of the concept and we look forward to seeing where it goes from here. What do YOU think? Send us an email and let us know!
Advocacy Day would not have been successful without the support of our Ohio Fed members who drove in from all around the state to participate. Our thanks to Ohio Fed Board President Sharon Harvey, Cleveland Animal Protective League; Vice President Rachel Finney, Columbus Humane; Secretary/Treasurer Julie Holmes-Taylor, Greene County Animal Care & Control; Board Member Lori Carlson, Licking County Humane Society; and Julie Shellhammer, Allen County Dog Warden's Office; Robert Craft, Miami County Animal Shelter; Gregory Willey, Friendship Animal Protective League; Lori Shandor, Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County; and Meg Werner, Humane Society of Madison County. It was an exciting day!