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Pet abuse could become a felony

It's not a law in Ohio yet, but the House did recently pass a bill that could turn significant abuse of a pet into a felony. The vote was said to be "overwhelmingly" in favor of the bill.

If it does become a law, it would mean that some instances of pet abuse would be a fifth-degree felony. This would only come into play for serious and intentional abuse. Still, it would give the law more teeth in how it can deal with injuries that are dealt to people's pets.

Some examples of things that could bring about a felony include the following:

- Causing the animal to be incapacitated- Inflicting injuries that lead to long-term pain- Depriving the animal of basic necessities like shelter, food and water

This bill would reach outside of the home, though most cases would probably be focused around people with animals in the house. However, it could also apply to animals being kept in pet stores, so employees at those stores would have to be held accountable if they abused animals, even though they did not own those animals.

Those who support the bill say that it is so important because people who are prone to injuring pets in serious and intentional ways have often been found to be likely to harm others or to commit other violent crimes. In that way, this is about more than pets.

The bills is backed by both Republican Rep. David Hall and Democratic Rep. Bill Patmon.

Residents of Pennsylvania must watch to see if this is signed into law, as it would have large ramifications in animal abuse cases.

Source: chron.com, "Ohio House OKs bill to make serious pet abuse a felony crime," June 26, 2015

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