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Petitioning Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine

Harley's Hope: Changing the World...One Pet at a Time.

Extensive research proves a strong correlation exists between animal abuse and domestic violence (Robbins, 2006).  The FBI considers past animal abuse when profiling serial killers.  Ohio must join the rest of the nation and create harsher laws for first time offenders of willful, wanton animal cruelty against family pets. Ohio’s outdated laws which govern the penalties of cruelty against pets must be amended to a felony conviction for first time offenders. People who commit such heinous acts will certainly go on to commit violent crimes against people. Ohio’s voters should demand Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine certify and file the foregoing petition to be placed on the next ballot.

Numerous studies conducted throughout the United States reveal that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people.  Crimes against property are also much higher from persons who engage in acts of animal cruelty than those people who have never abused an animal (Sullivan, Vietzke & Coyne, 2008).  Humbolt County, California’s District Attorney Terry Farmer was quoted “The link between animal abuse and more violent conduct has clearly been established. The dismembered remains of dogs and cats today could well be that of children tomorrow.” (Eureka Times, 2001).  

Victims of domestic violence report their abuser has often harmed a pet as a means of control.  Due to this fact, many states have also adopted felony convictions against anyone who uses a pet to "intimidate" another person.  Victims report that mental abuse endured while witnessing the torture of a beloved animal is far worse than physical harm inflicted upon themselves.  Offenders also threaten the family pet to prevent the victim from reporting the abuse (Cruelty Connection, n.d.). The abusers manipulate their victims by harming or threatening to harm the family pet.  Ms. Jennifer Robbins, co-founder of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund at the University of Texas’ School of Law believes changing the laws to include pets as part of the family will encourage the victims of abuse seek help quicker. 

While the needless torture or killing of any animal is morally corrupt, Ohio legislature desperately needs to focus on protecting “companion animals”.  The Ohio Revised Code defines a “companion animal” as “…any animal that is kept inside a residential dwelling and any dog or cat regardless of where it is kept.”  Ohio still considers pets as personal property which is another reason the law is absurdly lenient when people mutilate their own pets.

Ohio’s current law gives nothing more than a slap on the wrist for someone who mutilates beats, maims, or even needlessly kills their pet.  A first offense of cruelty against a companion animal is only a misdemeanor regardless how horrific the crime.  Ohioans must demand amendment to Ohio Revised Code 959.99(E)(1) which currently states, "Whoever violates division (B) of section 959.131 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree on a first offense and a felony of the fifth degree on each subsequent offense."  The proposed amended O.R.C. 959.99(E)(1) shall read “ Whoever violates division (B) of section 959.131 of the Revised Code is guilty of a felony of the fifth degree on a first offense and a felony of the fourth degree on each subsequent offense.”  Voters create a safer environment for Ohio families.  It is time the law reflects Ohio’s concerns and values.  Sign the petition today to ensure safe pets tomorrow.


Animal abuse and animal neglect.  (2012).   American Veterinary 

     Medical Association.  Retrieved from

Animal welfare bill back for 2011 legislature.  (2010, December 10).  The 

     Associated Press.  Retrieved from   

Dogs, cats and birds mutilated Eureka, CA.  (2001, July 17).  Eureka CA 

     Times-Standard. Retrieved from

Ohio Revised Code.  Chapter 959:  Offenses relating to domestic animals.   

     Retrieved from (n.d) Cruelty connections.  Retrieved from

Robbins, J. (2006). Recognizing the Relationship Between Domestic Violence 

     and Animal Abuse: Recommendations for Change to the Texas Legislature.

     Texas Journal Of Women & The Law, 16(1), 129-147.   

Sullivan, D. M., Vietzke, H., & Coyne, M. L. (2008). A Modest Proposal for

     Advancing Animal Rights. Albany Law Review, 71(4), 1129-1136.


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