Petition Closed

19 Dogs faced Extreme Starvation at a k9 training facility in Youngstown, Ohio. Nitro was 1 of 8 dogs that were starved to death by their trusted trainer. The perpetrator was only sentenced 4 months. Please sign the Nitro's Foundation petition to change all animal abusers misdemeanor's, currently in place as Misdemeanors, into Felonies. Nitro's Law is the first step towards a Felony for animal abuse and cruelty in Ohio.

Letter to
Ohio Senate Members / Senate President Keith Faber State of Ohio
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Nitro Foundation formerly HB 108 in Ohio.

Take the 1st step to make all animal abuse a Felony in Ohio.


Nitro's Law is the first step towards a felony for animal abuse and cruelty in Ohio.


NITRO'S LAW is the legacy and testament in honor of a family's Rottweiler, Nitro, who was 1 of 8 dogs starved to death in a horrific crime at a K9 training facility in Youngstown, Ohio. Nitro's Law was created as a felony provision for kennels and proactive legislative measure to increase the outdated misdemeanor-only penalties currently in place for violent animal crimes in the state of Ohio.

On October 22, 2008 an elite dog training facility 'High Caliber K9' in Youngstown, Ohio was raided. Steven S. Croley owner & trainer of High Caliber was arrested, charged and convicted on just 4 misdemeanor infractions for starving 19 dogs, 8 of which died.

A total of 19 dogs suffered extreme starvation and 8 of them lost their lives; 1 Rottweiler, 3 Doberman Pinschers, 1 American Pit Bull Terrier, 1 Border Collie, and 2 German Shepherds. Each of these dogs had families and bright futures. They came from all over the United States and abroad for elite K9 training as law enforcement K9s & service assistance K9s, only to end up starved to death in their kennels at High Caliber. The owners of these dogs paid fortunes to ensure their care, only to have them suffer depraved acts of cruelty and neglect.

High Caliber K9 training facility, portrayed a clean, well-kept K9 facility where one family was assured their much-prized Rottweiler "Nitro" would receive only the best in specialized K9 training.

This was not Nitro's first visit to High Caliber but sadly it would end up being his last.

Nitro lived the typical suburbia New York life with his doting family and litter mate, Bella. A family that cooked scrambled eggs for breakfast for them, labored with love on sewing holiday costumes, including them as members of their family in celebrations, vacations, and the many activities of life; a life any dog would be fortunate to live. It was obvious from the beginning, Nitro was the classic, determined Rottie with a high working drive and High Caliber K9 came highly recommended through Nitro's breeder as a positive outlet and focus for him to be the best dog he could be.

Steven S. Croley, the owner of High Caliber K9 appeared to be the charismatic, gifted dog whisperer and Nitro's family did all the necessary tasks ensuring his background was genuine and without blemish, including an 8 hour drive to be guests of Croley at his facility with impressive results. For 2.5 years a successful working relationship and bond soon developed with Croley and naturally a friendship quickly followed including social engagements and outings with all the makings of a trusted alliance.

When a critical medical emergency developed, Nitro's family found themselves in a dilemma of commuting for long periods of time back and forth to New Jersey putting a strain on the pets in their home. Nitro being highly protective proved this to be increasingly stressful on him.

Croley's facility and program of a summer dog camp seemed to be the perfect solution. Not only would he be safe with someone they thought they knew and trusted but Nitro could also work on his training in a secure and safe environment. Nitro was a very reserved dog and not inclined to trust easily and naturally any lingering doubts they might have had regarding Croley had dissolved long ago, since Nitro thrived in Croley's presence and on his doting attention. This combined with their successful 2.5-year history with Croley only reinforced he was trustworthy. They would never have thought in a million years they could and would be so utterly and devastatingly wrong.

Croley's many different versions of his account of what took place are not only conflicting but unclear and to this day he has yet to openly acknowlege his self-absorbed criminal actions and remorse for the unspeakable suffering which he was responsible for. The suffering of these dogs was not out of sight and out of mind; Croley lived on the same property of the kennels and the training area was his own backyard. His meticulous care of facility grounds always displayed freshly-cut grass even while dead and decaying carcasses of dogs were contained in the unseen facility kennels located at the back of the property. Alleged drug use is reported to have been the motivating factor in robbing these dogs of the basic necessities of life with the money paid to ensure their care instead being used to feed an alleged drug addiction.

Courtesy of Ohio's outdated and antiquated laws, a further crime and travesty of justice occurred after the original crime; Croley was originally charged on 19 counts of animal cruelty for starving 19 dogs, 8 of which died with only misdemeanor penalties regardless of the severity of this horrendous crime. However, due to a legal technicality 15 of those original 19 charges were dropped and Nitro's life was one of them. Croley was charged on just 4 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and was granted a plea bargain sentencing him to only 4 months in county jail with 13 days credited already having been served. He was released on Mother's Day 2009.

Ohio continues to rank at the bottom of animal protection legislation. The degradation of our Nation as a whole by the state of Ohio continues into the 21st century and only through legislation that allows for prosecution of animal cruelty with stronger penalties imposed on those found guilty, will Ohio be on the road to becoming a just and compassionate State.

Written by
Jami Kinton
"Ohio is a great place to go if you want to abuse animals," said the senior director of the puppy mills campaign for the Humane Society of the United States. "Ohio doesn't have laws to protect dogs in commercial facilities," Kahn said. "In other states, these laws are in place to prevent animal cruelty before it occurs. The law requires regular inspections and other mandates, and if someone doesn't comply they're charged with a misdemeanor crime. If it rises to the level of animal cruelty, the offender could receive jail time, fines, etc."
Such offenses are considered a felony in most states -- but not in Ohio. "It was brought to my attention the deplorable conditions dogs are subject to -- dogs in cages stacked high on top of each other, defecating on one another and into their food and water bowls -- never having human interaction, never touching the grass," Hughes said. If Ohioans don't comply, charges could be brought against them. "These are supposed to be man's best friend and we're not treating them like it." Last year, State Reps. Jay Goyal and Jeff McClain introduced legislation to make sexually abusing an animal a fifth-degree felony.

The proposed legislation came two weeks after Shelby resident Peter Bower, 32, was charged and later convicted of animal abuse for having sexual relations with multiple dogs.

Write/call/visit your Ohio State Senator and Senate leaders! Many will meet with you if you set up an appointment.

I honestly can't tell you why the Senate members need more time to consider and discuss Nitro's Law or exactly what their concerns are with the bill except that a few have informed us that they don't want a crime against a companion animal to be a felony as many laws in Ohio for crimes against humans are misdemeanors. It appears to me that many laws in Ohio, not just those to protect our companion animals, are outdated and archaic. However, I feel that they are the lawmakers and if they feel that the crimes against humans that are just misdemeanors are wrong, then they should write a new bill for those crimes. It should not be an "either/or", 2 wrongs don't make a right! LAWS AND PUNISHMENTS FOR OUR COMPANION ANIMALS WITH A BITE WILL SAVE LIVES!

Nitro's Law was originally introduced in 2009, the bill number was HB70. HB70 passed in the Ohio House of Representatives, was assigned to Senate Committee where it just sat and died on Dec. 31, 2010.

Nitro's Law was reintroduced in 2011 as HB108 -
HB108 was assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee and was passed after 3 hearings on 9/21/11 by a vote of 11 House Representatives for the bill and 2 House Representatives against the bill.
Nitro's Law HB108 was voted on by all Ohio House Representatives on Feb. 15, 2012 - 82 House Representatives voted YES for the bill , 11 House Representatives voted NO against the bill.

THE FOLLOWING House Representatives VOTED NO!
Adams J., Amstutz, Buchy, DeVitis, Hall, Hill, Martin, Roegner, Thompson, Uecker, and Wachtmann.

Nitro's Law was assigned to The Senate AG Committee on 2/21/12, the bill had 3 hearings and was voted on by all committee members on 5/22/12. ALL 9 COMMITTEE SENATE MEMBERS VOTED YES FOR THE BILL! UNAMIOUS!

Should Nitro's Law HB108 not be voted on by all 33 Ohio State Senators the bill dies AGAIN on December 31, 2012. That is exactly what just happened. It is being reintroduced again very soon.

Senate President Faber - Senate Building 1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor Columbus, OH 43215 - Phone: (614) 466-7584
E-mail: - Tell him that you are a registered voter in Ohio, give your address or district/city. Tell him to pass Nitro's Foundation.

All 33 Ohio State Senators along with their contact information can be found here:

If you are unsure who your senator is see below link and enter zip code or district.

This bill will only pass when Ohio residents and constituents (registered Oh voters in a senator's district) CALL/WRITE/E-MAIL. Leave a message, name and address. It takes 2 minutes and is very easy to do then write or e-mail.


Thank you so very, very much!!
Liz (Nitro's Mom)

Domestic violence, animal cruelty often linked

Here is another. It was a tragic event, in 2008 look how many more animals in Ohio have suffered or died because this law hasn't been enacted to open the gateway to other simple protections for companion animals. It comes down to one thing:
Nitro's Law falls into the category, I can't believe we HAVE TO have a law that tells us not to harm animals but apparently we do, so we need YOUR HELP to get it passed.

Ohio is in the minority providing only misdemeanor penalties regardless the extent of the crime or cruelty against defenseless animals. Nitro's Law which has been 4 long years in the making would finally change that and while Nitro's Law doesn't cover all abuse/abusers it's a huge first step in the right direction and we shall continue to build upon it, once passed, as all other states have done! Please call/write/e-mail your Ohio State Senator, Keith Faber and tell him you Support Nitro's Law! Email at Phone 614-466-7584 Address Senate Building 1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor Columbus, OH 43215


Allison Leigh Southwick