Ohio, let's

continue to make big strides for animals during the next legislative session. The last session of the Ohio Legislature saw some big wins for animals, including the passage and signing of Goddard's Law (HB 60), which makes it a fifth-degree felony to knowingly cause serious physical harm to a companion animal, punishable by six months to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The bill, named for longtime Cleveland weatherman Dick Goddard and sponsored by Rep.Bill Patmon (D-10) and Rep.David Hall (R-70), passed the Senate and House with broad bipartisan support, including that of Rep.Kristina Roegner (R-37).

Roegner also supported HB 215, sponsored by Rep.Heather Bishoff (D-20) and former Rep. Barbara R. Sears (R-47), which would make it a felony, punishable by fines up to $10,000, to be knowingly employed at or involved with an event where there is cockfighting, bearbaiting or the pitting of an animal against another. The legislation is now with the Senate Agriculture Committee for consideration during the next session.

Finally, SB 215, sponsored by Sen.Frank LaRose (R-27) and Sen.Jim Hughes (R-16), was passed and signed into law, granting a person immunity from civil liability for any damage resulting from the forcible entry of a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a minor or an animal from the vehicle when there is imminent danger of harm.

As we approach the next legislative session, there are a number of important animal- and environmental-related issues that may come to the floor for a vote. With that in mind, it's important that our representatives examine all angles of an issue and seek information to understand the implications. I hope we can continue to make Ohio a safer and more compassionate state.

Lorie Llorens,