“Knowingly” Cause Serious Physical Harm=Felony

Once signed into law, Ohio HB 60 will make it illegal for anyone to “knowingly torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against a companion animal.”

The move was a long time coming, according to one of the sponsors.

“It was a minor misdemeanor before. A lot of times it was a slap on the wrist,” Hall said in an interview with Yahoo News. “So we felt that we needed to put teeth into the law in Ohio.”  Lora Dunn, a staff attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program, explains that all 50 states, including Ohio, already have felony penalties available for animal cruelty.

“However, whether cruelty is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony can depend on a variety of factors, including the nature of the offense, whether it was the perpetrator’s first or subsequent offense, whether a child was present, how many animal victims were involved, and more,” Dunn said via email.

“Currently, under Ohio’s cruelty law [Ohio Rev. Code § 959.131(B)], knowing cruelty to a companion animal is only a misdemeanor on first offense, and a fifth-degree felony for any subsequent offense.”

Goddard’s Law makes knowingly causing serious physical harm to an animal a felony offense the very first time.

Note: In CA it’s likely already a felony… “serious physical harm”………

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