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] , jones@oh
iosenate.gov , [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.