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Ohio Senate panel OKs vicious dog bill

By December 1, 2016 Legislation

Ohio Voters for Companion Animals – OVCA at Ohio Statehouse.

A bill to toughen Ohio’s vicious dog laws — two years after the death of a Dayton woman — is a step closer to becoming law. “The Konda Richey Act” is named after a Dayton woman who was tragically mauled to death by two dogs. After making over a dozen calls to local officials over several months regarding her neighbor’s dogs threatening manner and the lack of care they were receiving, the mixed-mastiffs attacked Richey in her front yard on a early morning in February 2014.
The bill (SB 151) passed the Agriculture Committee unanimously.

ANIMAL LEGISLATION UPDATE – OHIO – SB 151 (“THE KLONDA RICHEY ACT”)

Primary Sponsor: Sen. Bill Beagle (R-5)

Summary: To amend sections 109.73, 955.11, 955.12, 955.22, 955.222, 955.44, 955.54, and 955.99 and to enact sections 955.13, 955.223, 955.224, 955.225, 955.226, and 955.60 of the Revised Code to revise provisions of the Dogs Law governing nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dogs, to revise enforcement of that Law, and to establish a notification process regarding complaints of certain violations of that Law.

Status: Referred to Senate Agriculture Committee

To view the text of this bill: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary…

“The Konda Richey Act” is named after a Dayton woman who was tragically mauled to death by two dogs. After making over a dozen calls to local officials over several months regarding her neighbor’s dogs threatening manner and the lack of care they were receiving, the mixed-mastiffs attacked Richey in her front yard on a early morning in February 2014.

“THE KLONDA RICHEY ACT” FACT SHEET

In the 129th General Assembly, House Bill 14 created the terms “nuisance, dangerous and vicious” dogs, insurance requirements and certain penalties for dogs harming or killing humans or their companion animals.

Although this system has worked for some communities, many agree there are ways to improve the code and hold owners of these dogs more accountable.

Under current code, dogs have what has been described by those in the field as “one free growl, one free bite, and one free kill.” While it was not the intent of the law to punish good dogs and their owners from an isolated incident, giving dogs a “one-time pass” causes dangerous dogs to get a second change to harm someone. To fix this, the legislation strives to give local authorities the tools they need to address problem dogs and their owners without punishing those that are not a serious threat to the community.

Summary of The Klonda Richey Act

— Creates a more comprehensive penalty structure for nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dogs including clearer penalties for seriously injuring or killing a person or a companion animal. This includes the permission for dogs to be humanely destroyed when they kill a person or a companion animal or seriously injure a person.

— Extends the amount of time felons cannot own dogs from 3 years to 5 years. In addition, any child abusers cannot own a dog for that same amount of time.

— Clarifies that dog wardens have arresting authority, something that an Attorney General opinion also confirms.

— Requires every call to a dog warden generate an investigation or follow-up.

— Requires owners to respond to warnings or postings on the dwelling about their dogs within a defined reasonable amount of time.

— Allows witnesses to provide a notarized affidavit saying they saw a dog bit/injure/kill a person. Current code does not allow dog wardens to cite owners unless they are a witness to the incident.

— Changes “provocation” to an affirmative defense, instead of being an element of the offense.

— Creates a penalty for not complying with the requirements of transferring a dangerous dog.

— Requires each dog which is deemed a dangerous dog be registered and on file with a dangerous dog registration certificate each year and establishes penalties for not registering the dangerous dog.

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