Days Shorten for Passage of Nitro’s Law in 2012 Session

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More than four years after Liz Raab and Tom Siesto’s Rottweiler Nitro was starved to death, along with several other dogs, at the High Caliber K9 training facility in Youngstown, OH, legislation to stiffen penalties for abuse and neglect, in hopes of preventing future tragedies, has yet to be passed into law. Today and the coming days through December 12 are crucial for any hope of getting Nitro’s Law passed this session.

High Caliber K9 owner and trainer Steve Croley, was arrested, charged and convicted on four paltry misdemeanor infractions for starving 19 dogs, eight of which died. The penalty of 4 months in jail was seen as little more than a slap on the wrist by many.

“When the prosecutor told me that this is only a misdemeanor in Ohio, I almost collapsed,” Raab said. “I told my husband, ‘We have to try and do something. We can’t change what happened to Nitro, but we can try to improve things for other animals in Ohio.’”

Raab, Siesto and many animal advocates and supporters have worked to get Nitro’s Law passed ever since.

HB 108 would make animal abuse a felony. The bill, which has only until December 12 before it dies for the current legislative session, is a “Bill As Reported by the Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, to amend sections 959.131, 959.132, 959.99, and 1717.01 of the Revised Code to specifically prohibit an owner, manager, or employee of a kennel of dogs from committing cruel treatment of a companion animal, to give a prosecutor who prosecutes an owner, manager, or employee of a kennel of dogs who commits cruel treatment of a companion animal discretion in prosecuting the owner, manager, or employee for the offense, to remove certain language regarding the negligent treatment of companion animals, and to revise the definition of “cruelty,” “torment,” and “torture” in the Humane Societies Law.”

The Nitro Foundation HB 70 Law in Ohio Facebook page writes today:
“Nitro Foundation HB 70 Law in Ohio
“TODAY, Tuesday December 4th is a HUGE day for Nitro’s Law HB108!! There is a Scheduled Senate Session at 1:30! Nitro’s Law could Pass today “if” Senate President Niehaus decides to bring it to the Senate Floor for a Vote!

“***Please call Senator Niehaus and request he move Nitro’s Law HB108 to the Senate Floor for a full Vote! 614-466-8082 Phone calls hold the most power right now. Today we only have 7 Working Business Days until the Senate goes on “Holiday Break” and won’t return until mid January. The bill will DIE on December 12th. Please don’t let this happen. We can see the finish line from here, after all it’s been through to get here it would be devastating to see it die after 4 years. It would have to start all over and go through everything it has been through to get this far. PLEASE CALL! Thank you! 614-466-8082.”

The bill does not appear to be scheduled on the agenda today. The law is close to passage in this session but needs a final, crucial push.

The testimony of Raab and Siesto from a 2011 hearing made an appeal to both heads and hearts, and served to bear witness for their dog’s suffering and the family’s sense of heartbreak and loss.


Many animal lovers have contacted their legislators, and will do so for the remaining days of the session.

MJ Brennan wrote:
“I just emailed my Senator, Pres. Neihuas, as well as Gov. Kasich. My email went something like this…

“Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I am writing in hopes of having you bring HB 108, Nitro’s law to the floor of the Ohio Senate. I am an animal rescuer working with Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue. I would like to live in a world where animals are not viewed as disposable. Please consider helping this bill get to the floor for a vote as well as voting in it’s favor. I know animals are not flashy, yet when most people have a bad day and they go home to their families, many contain animals. It is the love felt and shared by the human and animal that helps ease the stress and adds to the comfort. It is bothersome to me to realize someone may abuse and kill my puppy and receive a slap on the wrist whereas I would be heartbroken and would then have to explain to my young children that the law was also going to fail them in not seeking justice for their very real pain and anger. I would like to be able to say that even though we no longer have our beloved dog, there would be justice for him. That his suffering would not go unnoticed.”


Administrators at the Nitro’s Law Facebook page referenced above include contact information for the legislators who can pass this bill:

All WE Want is for HB108/Nitro’s Law to be voted on…Ohio Senate President Thomas Niehaus at 614-466-8082 and email [email protected] is keeping us from getting this gift to Ohio’s Companion Animals…From now until 12/12/12 – Please call and email him every single day and let him know that you want HB108/Nitro’s Law to be brought to the Senate Floor for a vote!!! Also. please email the other members of the Senate Rules and Reference Committee – [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] – Thanks and Merry Christmas from us all at Nitro Foundation… here are their phone numbers. Please call them and tell them that if they are against Nitro’s Law they are FOR animal abuse.

Senators Niehaus- (614) 466-8082
Faber – (614) 466-7584
Wagoner – (614) 466-8060
Jones – (614) 466-9737
Widener – (614) 466-3780
Patton – (614) 466-8056
Turner – (614) 466-4583
Oelslager – (614) 466-0626
Kearny -(614) 466-5980
Brown – (614) 466-5204
Schiavoni – (614) 466-8285

This touching and difficult to watch video from 2010 poignantly tells the story of Nitro and his kennel mates, and the struggle to get legislation passed to prevent other animals from suffering similar fates.


9 thoughts on “Days Shorten for Passage of Nitro’s Law in 2012 Session”

  1. Hi to whom it may concern,I have a big question,why in heavens Name,was poor Nitro in that hellish cannel?Please let me know,i have cryed my eys out,this is why i love Animals more then People,my sister got so sick watching the video,she cant stop crying either,as she had several Rotties,she loved them beyond so so sorry,for this beautiful animals,who ever did this,should burn in hell,ore be let starved as well.

  2. Steve Croley who was the Owner/Trainer at High Caliber K9, had been entrusted with Nitro, a Rottweiler and 18 additional dogs was arrested charged and convicted of four measly assed misdemeanors in the starvation of 19 dogs, eight of which died, including Nitro. Liz Raab and Tom Siesto, the owners of Nitro were incensed over the charges in Ohio only being misdemeanors vowed to do something so other animals might not suffer, have apparently formed a Foundation in Nitro’s memory and are currently sponsoring a Bill in the Ohio Senate HB108. While I fully support and applaud their efforts, I can’t help but wonder where they were the whole time that Nitro was at the kennel. Dogs don’t starve to death in a matter of days; it takes weeks and weeks for this to occur. Why hadn’t they visited Nitro? Or at the very least, one of their emissary? Croley may well have been at fault in Nitro’s death, but Raab and Siesto were also culpable, it isn’t as though Nitro was inaccessible and the same goes to the owners of the other dogs who suffered at the hands of Croley. It doesn’t lessen his responsibility even marginally, but all have some guilt to share. Owners of animals cannot feel free to simply drop their pets off at facilities such as these and wait for a call to come back and pick them up. The call they receive, may not be the one they are expecting, but one similar to the one these folks received, saying their that animals were dead. That said, I pray that HB108 is successfully passed and goes on to the Governor to be signed into Law for the State of Ohio. That would be a great victory for animals and possible a catalyst for other States to follow their lead. We can only hope so.

    • John I totally agree with you, mate.

      Croley, though he instigated this tragedy that caused weeks of suffering for these amazing dogs, I also have to wonder where were Nitro’s owners/parents, Raab & Siesto are also to blame for not visiting Nitro to ensure he is being taken care of correctly.

      IF I had ever sent my companion to a kennel for training, I would be visiting him as often as possible, as I would simply miss them too much.

  3. I pray to God that HB108 is passed into law. It needs to be so that the same thing doesn’t happen to other dogs!

    • This new law, in conjunction with owners visiting their pets, may very well stop this from happening again, the law won’t do that on it’s own, you have to be an active guardian for your companions, the law will only punish those that commit the crime mentioned, rightly so, but it won’t really stop the crime from happening.

  4. This story broke my heart then, it breaks my heart now, and leaves me very, very angry towards this Croley character, he deserves a much greater punishment that he has endured so far.

    I can’t watch the whole second video clip, even though we all should, to let us see what other “humans” are capable of doing, I makes me feel sick and depressed to see dogs in this terrible state.

    I am so sorry that you suffered such barbaric cruelty Nitro, your kennel mates and yourself deserved so much better, No animal should be made to endure such a horrific fate, especially ones whom have given nothing but love and protection to their supposed guardians.

  5. Yes, the first thing that entered my mine was, where were the owners of these dogs and why would anyone leave their beloved pets in the hands of someone they barely knew long enough for those animals to starve to death? Those deaths were long and painful.

    The owner of the kennel would not live many more days if one of those dogs were mine. Four months in jail? What an egregious miscarriage of justice. If this law is not passed, that will be pouring salt on an open wound – a horrible decision on the part of lawmakers. A point which should weigh heavily at their next election.

  6. I really wish readers would bother to research the story & get all the facts before firing off their opinions & condemning judgments, wondering where the owners were & why they would leave him with someone they barely knew, etc. If you have time to post comments, you have time to learn the entire story (as I did a couple of years ago). It is not my job to rebut all the points presented in the comments here, nor do I have time, but in light of the anguish these owners have gone through, I feel compelled to say something. Nitro’s owners DID know the kennel operator & TRUSTED him as a FRIEND. Never in a million years would they have believed this possible of him. Nitro was not in the kennel for training; he was being boarded for an extended time because the father of Nitro’s “hu-mom” was sick/dying, & she had to spend most of her time caring for him. Please, before you condemn people (that goes for anything in life, not just this case), take the time to get ALL the facts. Horrible things can happen to anyone no matter how careful they are. Don’t you think they’ve blamed themselves & second-guessed themselves a million times over the years? What’s done is done. Don’t twist the knife already in their hearts. You can watch their videos & check out their Facebook page to learn more about Nitro’s story.

  7. Some people on here have no heart. How can you even ask where were the owners? One shouldn’t have to worry about a legitimate business like this that trains and kennels dogs, right? Each owners case is individual in nature. For example, Nitro’s pet parents may have been away for business, or something urgent in nature when this went down. Doesn’t matter. The focus should be on what this person did to these dogs. He killled other people’s pets. Plain and simple.


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