Columbus -- Humane society agents would have show proof that they have completed requisite training to those appointment them to positions, under legislation being considered in the Ohio House.
Rep. Ronald Gerberry, D-Austintown, is offering House Bill 57 in response to an incident at a Youngstown kennel where dogs were starved to death. Evidence in that case was tossed after humane society agents entered the premises without warrants.
"It is imperative that proper procedures be followed at all times so that crucial evidence can be admitted in court," Gerberry told the House's State and Local Government Committee March 12. "This can only happen if the humane society agents know the proper procedures."
Gerberry offered comparable legislation last session that passed the House. The bill is a companion, of sorts, to separate legislation reintroduced by Gerberry this session and titled "Nitro's Law," which would allow increased criminal penalties against kennel owners who abuse or neglect animals in their care.
HB 57 would require county humane society agents to complete at least 20 hours of training on Ohio Peace Officer Commission rules for "the investigation and prosecution of cruelty to and neglect of animals," according to an analysis by the state's Legislative Service Commission. Proof of the training would have to be filed with county recorder offices.
Those who fail to comply with the latter could lose their jobs.
Nitro was one of the dogs that died from extreme neglect in 2008 at the High Caliber K-9 kennel on Coitsville Hubbard Road. The owner of the business faced a few misdemeanor convictions as a result of the incident and subsequently filed for bankruptcy, avoiding additional civil penalties.
"... Fifteen counts of animal abuse could not be prosecuted because the humane society agents entered the premises without a warrant," Gerberry said March 12. "Due to the insufficient training of these agents, the abuse, neglect and starvation of the animals could not be entered into evidence."
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.