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Ohio Law To Protect Pets Has Been Largely Unenforced Since 2014

Dog paw and people hands joined together.

The pandemic has created a strain on many Ohio families, but a new report shows it has also been stressful for pets, especially those living in homes where domestic abuse has been prevalent. A law meant to protect people and pets from abusers has not been enforced in most of those cases.

Vicki Deisner with Ohio Animal Advocates said a law passed in 2014 allows for pets to be included in protective orders and be removed from violent situations. But she said a new report shows only three of Ohio’s 88 counties included pets on protection order forms. She said that has been a problem during COVID. 

“We’ve confined people and quarantined them and it has escalated domestic violence and animal abuse during this time," Deisner said.

The Ohio Supreme Court has now updated its forms to allow for pets to be included in protective orders, she said. Because many counties use those forms, she thinks that will help increase compliance with the law. 

Deisner said she's realized it is important to actually follow up on the laws once they are passed. She said a new state law that went into effect this past month requires social workers, counselors and veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty to humane enforcement for investigation, and law enforcement, dog wardens and animal control officers to report suspected child abuse to county child welfare agencies for investigation.

This time, Deisner said she’ll be following up to make sure there isn’t a similar compliance issue on that one.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.