Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry (D-Austintown) has reintroduced legislation that requires a person to file proof of successful completion of training with the county recorder prior to being appointed as a humane society agent. The training is essential to helping agents better perform their duties including the protection of abused animals.
Last fall, Humane Society Agents in Youngstown, were called to a local kennel where numerous dogs/pets were being housed. The Humane Society Officers found horrific conditions of these animals and discovered numerous dead or dying dogs on the property. A few animals found alive were suffering from starvation and dehydration. The kennel owner had obviously ignored these creatures for weeks and many suffered a slow, painful death.
At the time of sentencing the kennel owner reached a plea agreement and pleaded no contest to four counts of animal cruelty. Unfortunately, 15 abuse counts could not be prosecuted because local humane agents entered the premises “illegally” because they did not have a warrant. Due to insufficient training of these Humane Agents, evidence of the abuse, neglect, and starvation of these animals was not allowed to be entered as evidence in the municipal court.
“Every day we hear more and more about cases of animal abuse. It is important to emphasize that proper procedures must be followed at all times so that the courts will accept the evidence…. and proof….that abuse has taken place. This can only be done with proper training,” said Gerberry.
House Bill 138, formally known in the last session of the General Assembly as HB175, calls for changes to Ohio law which would require a person to file proof of successful completion of training with the County Recorder prior to being appointed as a Humane Society Agent. This legislation also requires the revocation of an appointment if an agent does not complete the training six months after the effective date of the bill.
“I believe HB 138 is a viable and valuable tool that will help end the horrific crimes of animal abuse, as it will aid in the sufficient collection of evidence necessary for prosecution,” added Gerberry.