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news from the Prosecutor's Office

Change In Law Needs Teeth
March 05, 2010

Robin Piper, Butler County Prosecutor, has reviewed the current version of House Bill 55 and says “it doesn’t do enough”.

“House Bill 55 would allow animal cruelty, animal torture, or the malicious killing of an animal to be a misdemeanor,” and Piper said “that’s not good enough”. “Furthermore, HB 55 only requires psychological counseling when the animal is a “companion” animal, which generally means, cat or dog. This requirement should be more comprehensive and put into place anytime a juvenile is involved in animal cruelty, malicious injury, or torture of an animal - - regardless of what type of animal is involved.” An alpaca is not a “companion” animal.

Piper went on to say, “It doesn’t make sense that someone can steal $500 worth of scrap metal and it’s a felony, yet they can maliciously beat, torture, or kill an animal worth thousands of dollars, and it’s only a misdemeanor. I’m not trying to go on a crusade, but the law needs to be much tougher than it is. To charge and punish a person who neglects or recklessly provides sufficient food and water to an animal, the same as someone who cruelly beats or tortures an animal is outrageous. The mens rea or evil intent is so different, that they should be charged differently. The laws dealing with animal cruelty are antiquated in Ohio and House Bill 55 doesn’t do enough to correct the situation.”

Prosecutor Piper acknowledges working with Rep. Courtney Combs over a year ago in seeking changes to animal cruelty laws. Unfortunately, the legislative process hasn’t produced anything productive and now Prosecutor Piper believes the changes need to be more comprehensive and stricter in nature. Prosecutor Piper stated “The legislature should form a task force to completely revise animal protection laws. Currently, they overlap, appear inconsistent, and don’t provide sufficient protection to certain classifications of animals. Any new law created needs to be clear, precise, and have more teeth. The law is out of sync when a person gets felony charges for $500 worth of property and misdemeanor charges for torturing an animal.”

In regard to the recent Alpaca case, the Prosecutor’s Office announced, charges involving vandalism and theft, being felonies of the fourth degree, have been filed today against both juveniles. Piper further indicated a motion requesting bindover to the adult court will be filed on Monday.

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For more information contact the Prosecutor's Office at (513) 887-3474
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