For Immediate Release: Contact: Brandon Sagraves November 14, 2018 614-466-8140 Representative Hambley Applauds Passage of Legislation Modifying Humane Society Laws COLUMBUS—State Representative Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) today announced the passage of legislation by the Ohio House that makes changes to humane society laws. House Bill 147, which Hambley introduced, would bring the Ohio Revised Code up-to-date with improvedpractices by helping to ensure due process for those accused of animal abuse and provide public accountability for humane societies and their agents. The bill prohibits humane societies from entering into non-prosecution agreements unless the presiding judge approves and prohibits judges from providing agreements requiring a person to provide financial compensation in excess of what is “necessary and reasonable” for the animal’s care.
Under current law, humane societies may employ attorneys to act as special prosecutors in cases of animal or child abuse and cruelty, as well as appoint humane agents to enforce the law. In no other area of criminal law is it permitted for a non-profit agency, whose board is not subject to oversight by elected officials, to represent both the law enforcement and prosecution side of criminal matters. “There are some Humane Societies in Ohio that provide exemplary services in the enforcement and prosecution of our animal cruelty statutes, demonstrating the wisdom of working with local government officials and agencies in accomplishing a common public good,” said Hambley. “However, there is evidence that some of these non-profit organizations require more explicit and affirmative controls to ensure due process and the protection of individual civil liberties. House Bill 147 is a step in the right direction for humane societies, and animal owners alike.”
Other provisions in the bill include requiring the state and county humane societies to submit an annual report of enforcement activities to the respective sheriff, specifying that generally the records of enforcement of a humane society are public record, making clear the procedures for the removal from office of humane society’s agent, as well as increases the minimum monthly salary for these agents. The legislation now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.