A new Ohio law increases the severity of charges associated with acts of animal cruelty for first offenders. Under Goddard’s Law, officially known as House Bill 60, knowingly or intentionally causing serious physical harm to a companion animal can be charged as a fifth-degree felony. Convictions for a first offense are punishable by up to a year in jail as well as $2,500 in fines. The bill, which passed by an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives, was passed by the Senate on May 25 and signed into law by Governor John Kasich on June 13, 2016.
First offense acts which can be charged as felonies under Goddard’s law include (1) acts of physical violence such as torturing, beating, poisoning, or killing a companion animal as well as (2) acts of negligence such as depriving an animal of proper nourishment or failure to provide a sufficient shelter. Companion animals protected under this law include pets or animals kept inside a household. This definition does not extend to include livestock or wild animals.
Under the previous law, a first offense of animal cruelty was charged as a misdemeanor and this represents the first time in Ohio State history where a first offense of severe animal cruelty can be charged as a felony. Goddard’s law, which carried bi-partisan support, is named after Dick Goddard, a local Cleveland meteorologist who has long advocated for animal rights.
Questions On How This Law Affects You? Call 614-707-4239
If you have been charged with animal cruelty and would like more information on how Goddard’s law may impact the accusations against you, contact the Columbus criminal defense lawyers at The Meranda Law Firm LTD. Our team of attorneys provide client focused legal advocacy and our firm will work with you to ensure that you always understand what is going on in your case.
Schedule a free case evaluation with our firm and learn about the options available to you.