130th Ohio General Assembly
The online versions of legislation provided on this website are not official. Enrolled bills are the final version passed by the Ohio General Assembly and presented to the Governor for signature. The official version of acts signed by the Governor are available from the Secretary of State's Office in the Continental Plaza, 180 East Broad St., Columbus.
***
An attempt was made to recreate these historic documents. The original text was retained, however, during the process some errors in formatting may have been introduced. The official version of the act may be obtained from the Secretary of State's Office listed above.
***

(122nd General Assembly)
(Substitute House Bill Number 219)



AN ACT
To amend sections 955.01, 955.04, 955.05, 955.08, 955.09, 955.14, 955.35, and 959.99 and to enact sections 9.62 and 955.012 of the Revised Code to authorize the issuance without a fee of annual registrations for law enforcement canines of specified law enforcement agencies, to exempt certain nonprofit animal shelters from having to pay dog registration fees, to make changes in the annual dog registration deadlines and to authorize changes in dog registration fees, to allow the purchase of a police dog or horse by the officer to whom it is assigned, when the animal is removed from duty, and to increase the penalty for a violation of any of the dogfighting provisions from a fifth degree felony to a fourth degree felony.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1 .  That sections 955.01, 955.04, 955.05, 955.08, 955.09, 955.14, 955.35, and 959.99 be amended and sections 9.62 and 955.012 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:

Sec. 9.62. (A) As used in this section:

(1) "Police dog or horse" means a dog or horse that has been trained, and may be used, to assist law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.

(2) "Law enforcement agency" means an organization or unit made up of law enforcement officers as defined in section 2901.01 of the Revised Code.

(B) Upon the disbanding of the canine or equine unit of a law enforcement agency, the agency shall give the law enforcement officer to whom a police dog or horse is assigned the first chance to purchase the animal, for one dollar. an officer who purchases an animal under this section shall assume all responsibility for the animal thereafter.

(C) If a police dog or horse is injured in the line of duty, becomes disabled and is unfit for duty, or grows too old to be fit for duty, the law enforcement officer to whom the animal is assigned may purchase the animal, for one dollar. If an officer chooses not to purchase an animal as authorized by this division or division (B) of this section, the disposition of the animal shall be as otherwise provided by law.

(D) A law enforcement officer who leaves an equine or canine unit of a law enforcement agency while the police dog or horse assigned to the officer is still fit for duty forfeits the right to purchase the animal under this section.

Sec. 955.01.  (A)(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section or in sections 955.011, 955.012, and 955.16 of the Revised Code, every person who owns, keeps, or harbors a dog more than three months of age, shall file, on or after the first day of the preceding December but before the twentieth thirty-first day of January of each year, file in the office of the county auditor of the county in which the dog is kept or harbored, an application for registration for the following year, beginning the twentieth thirty-first day of January of that year. The board of county commissioners may, in case of an emergency by resolution, may extend the period for filing the application. The application shall state the age, sex, color, character of hair, whether short or long, and breed, if known, of the dog and the name and address of the owner of the dog. A registration fee of two dollars for each dog shall accompany the application, unless a greater fee has been established under division (A)(2) of this section or under section 955.14 of the Revised Code.

(2) A board of county commissioners may establish a registration fee higher than the one provided for in division (A)(1) of this section for dogs more than nine months of age that have not been spayed or neutered, except that the higher registration fee permitted by this division shall not apply if a person registering a dog furnishes with the application either a certificate from a licensed veterinarian verifying that the dog should not be spayed or neutered because of its age or medical condition or because the dog is used or intended for use for show or breeding purposes or a certificate from the owner of the dog declaring that the owner holds a valid hunting license issued by the division of wildlife of the department of natural resources and that the dog is used or intended for use for hunting purposes. If the board establishes such a fee, the application for registration shall state whether the dog is spayed or neutered, and whether a licensed veterinarian has certified that the dog should not be spayed or neutered or the owner has stated that the dog is used or intended to be used for hunting purposes. The board may require a person who is registering a spayed or neutered dog to furnish with the application a certificate from a licensed veterinarian verifying that the dog is spayed or neutered. No person shall furnish a certificate under this division which he the person knows to be false.

(B) If the application for registration is not filed and the registration fee paid, on or before the twentieth thirty-first day of January of each year or, in case of an emergency if the board of county commissioners by resolution has extended the date to a date later than the thirty-first day of January, the date established by the board, the auditor shall assess a penalty in an amount equal to the registration fee upon the owner, keeper, or harborer, which must be paid with the registration fee.

(C) An animal shelter that keeps or harbors a dog more than three months of age is exempt from paying any fees imposed under division (A) or (B) of this section if it is a nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under subsection 501(a) and described in subsection 501(c)(3) of the "Internal Revenue Code of 1986," 100 Stat. 285, 26 U.S.C. 1.

Sec. 955.012. (A) As used in this section:

(1) "Controlled substance" has the same meaning as in section 3719.01 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Law enforcement agency" means the state highway patrol, the office of a county sheriff, the police department of a municipal corporation or township, or a township or joint township police district.

(3) "Law enforcement canine" means a dog regularly utilized by a law enforcement agency for general law enforcement purposes, tracking, or detecting the presence of a controlled substance or explosive.

(B) Instead of obtaining an annual registration under section 955.01 of the Revised Code, a law enforcement agency owning, keeping, or harboring a law enforcement canine may obtain an annual registration for the dog as a law enforcement canine under this section. The application for a law enforcement canine registration shall be submitted to the county auditor of the county in which the central office of the law enforcement agency that owns, keeps, or harbors the dog is located, except that for a dog owned, kept, or harbored by the state highway patrol, the application shall be submitted to the county auditor of the county in which is located the state highway patrol post to which the dog and its handler primarily are assigned. The application shall be submitted on or after the first day of December immediately preceding the beginning of the registration year and before the thirty-first day of January of that year. If the period for filing registration applications under division (A)(1) of section 955.01 of the Revised Code is extended in the county in which a law enforcement canine is to be registered, an application for registration under this section shall be submitted to the county auditor not later than the registration deadline for that year, as so extended.

The application for registration of a law enforcement canine shall state the age, sex, hair color, character of hair, whether short or long, and breed, if known, of the dog, the name and address of the owner of the dog, and, if the law enforcement agency keeping or harboring the dog is different from the owner, the name of that law enforcement agency. For a dog owned, kept, or harbored by the police department of a municipal corporation or township or by a township or joint township police district, the application shall be signed by the chief of the police department or district. For a dog owned, kept, or harbored by the office of a county sheriff, the application shall be signed by the sheriff. For a dog owned, kept, or harbored by the state highway patrol, the application shall be signed by the officer in charge of the post of the state highway patrol to which the dog and its handler primarily are assigned. The application shall include a certification by the chief of the police department or district, sheriff, or officer of the state highway patrol post, as applicable, that the dog described in the application has been properly trained to carry out one or more of the purposes described in division (A)(3) of this section and actually is used for one or more of those purposes by the law enforcement agency making the application.

No fee is required for issuance of a law enforcement canine registration. Upon proper proof of loss, a duplicate certificate and tag shall be issued for a dog registered under this section, and no fee shall be required.

If an application for registration of a law enforcement canine is not filed under this section on or before the thirty-first day of January of the registration year, or the extended registration deadline established under division (A)(1) of section 955.01 of the Revised Code, as applicable, the law enforcement canine shall be registered under that section, and the registration fee and late registration penalty applicable under divisions (A) and (B) of that section shall accompany the application.

(C) If a law enforcement agency becomes the owner, keeper, or harborer of a law enforcement canine or brings a law enforcement canine into the state after the thirty-first day of January of a registration year or the extended registration deadline established under division (A)(1) of section 955.01 Of the Revised Code, as applicable, the law enforcement agency, within thirty days after becoming the owner, keeper, or harborer or bringing the dog into the state, may submit an application for registration of the dog under this section. Upon submission of the application, the law enforcement agency shall be issued such a registration in the manner provided in division (B) of this section. If such an application is not filed within the thirty-day period, the dog shall be registered under section 955.05 Of the Revised Code, and the registration fee and late registration penalty applicable under that section or section 955.06 Of the Revised Code shall accompany the application.

Sec. 955.04.  Every owner of a kennel of dogs shall, in like manner as provided in section 955.01 of the Revised Code, make application for the registration of such kennel, and pay to the county auditor a registration fee of ten dollars for each such kennel, unless a greater fee has been established under section 955.14 of the Revised Code. If such application is not filed and the fee paid, on or before the twentieth thirty-first day of January of each year, the auditor shall assess a penalty in an amount equal to the registration fee upon the owner of such kennel. The payment of such kennel registration fee shall entitle the licensee to not more than five tags, to bear consecutive numbers and to be issued in like manner and have like effect when worn by any dog owned in good faith by such licensee as the tags provided for in section 955.08 of the Revised Code. Upon application to the county auditor, additional tags, in excess of the five tags, may be issued upon payment of an additional fee of one dollar per tag.

Sec. 955.05.  After the twentieth thirty-first day of January of any year, except as otherwise provided in section 955.012 or 955.16 of the Revised Code, every person, immediately upon becoming the owner, keeper, or harborer of any dog more than three months of age or brought from outside the state during any year, shall file like applications, with fees, as required by section 955.01 of the Revised Code, for registration for the current year. If such application is not filed and the fee paid, within thirty days after such dog is acquired, becomes three months of age, or is brought from outside the state, the auditor shall assess a penalty in an amount equal to the registration fee upon such owner, keeper, or harborer, which must be paid with the registration fee.

Every person becoming the owner of a kennel of dogs after the twentieth thirty-first day of January of any year shall file like applications, with fees, as required by section 955.04 of the Revised Code, for the registration of such kennel for the current calendar year. If such application is not filed and the fee paid within thirty days after the person becomes the owner of such kennel, the auditor shall assess a penalty in an amount equal to the registration fee upon the owner of such kennel.

Sec. 955.08.  In addition to the certificate of registration provided for by section 955.07 of the Revised Code, the county auditor shall issue to every person making application for the registration of a dog and paying the required fee therefor a metal tag for each dog so registered. The form, character, and lettering of the tag shall be prescribed by the county auditor. Each year the tag shall be a color distinctive from that of the previous year. If a tag is lost, a duplicate shall be furnished by the auditor upon proper proof of loss and the payment of twenty-five cents for each duplicate tag issued or payment of an alternate fee for a duplicate tag, which the board of county commissioners may establish in an amount not to exceed one dollar and fifty cents.

Sec. 955.09.  Certificates of registration and registration tags shall be valid only during the calendar year in which they are issued, and during the first twenty thirty-one days of the following calendar year.

Sec. 955.14.  (A) If in any year there is not sufficient money in the dog and kennel fund, after paying the expenses of administration, to pay the claims allowed for animals, fowl, or poultry injured or destroyed by dogs, the board of county commissioners shall do either or both of the following:

(1) Between the first and fifteenth days of October, ascertain the number of claims entered and the amount of money allowed for animals, fowl, or poultry injured and destroyed, the total expense incurred by the administration of the dog law, and the amount received as dog and kennel registration fees. The fees for the ensuing year shall then be fixed at such an amount that when multiplied by the number of dog and kennel registrations during the previous year the product will equal the aggregate of the claims for injured and destroyed animals, fowl, or poultry allowed by the board, plus the balance of allowed claims remaining unpaid, plus the expense of administration. Any increase in fees is not subject to the four dollar and twenty dollar limitations of division (B) of this section, but the increase shall always be in the ratio of two dollars for a dog registration fee and ten dollars for a kennel registration fee.

(2) Provide by resolution that all allowed claims remaining unpaid shall be paid out of the general fund of the county. All money paid out of the general fund for such purpose shall be replaced by the board from the dog and kennel fund no later than the twentieth day of February of the following year.

(B) Notwithstanding division (A) of this section, at any time the board of county commissioners may, by resolution, increase dog and kennel registration fees in the county. Registration fees established under this division shall be in the ratio of two dollars for a dog registration fee and ten dollars for a kennel registration fee and shall not exceed four dollars for a dog registration fee and twenty dollars for a kennel registration fee. Notwithstanding section 955.01 of the Revised Code, a board of county commissioners by resolution may increase dog and kennel registration fees in the county. the amount of the fees shall not exceed an amount that the board, in its discretion, estimates is needed to pay all expenses for the administration of this chapter and to pay claims allowed for animals, fowl, or poultry injured or destroyed by dogs. such a resolution shall be adopted not earlier than the first day of February and not later than the thirty-first day of August of any year and shall apply to the registration period commencing on the first day of December of the current year and ending on the thirty-first day of January of the following year, unless the period is extended under section 955.01 of the Revised Code. any increase in fees adopted under this division shall be in the ratio of two dollars for a dog registration fee and ten dollars for a kennel registration fee.

(B) not later than the fifteenth day of October of each year, the board of county commissioners shall determine if there is sufficient money in the dog and kennel fund, after paying the expenses of administration incurred or estimated to be incurred for the remainder of the year, to pay the claims allowed for animals, fowl, or poultry injured or destroyed by dogs. if the board determines there is not sufficient money in the dog and kennel fund to pay the claims allowed, the board shall provide by resolution that all claims remaining unpaid shall be paid from the general fund of the county. all money paid out of the general fund for such purposes may be replaced by the board from the dog and kennel fund at any time during the following year notwithstanding section 5705.14 of the Revised Code.

(C) Notwithstanding section 955.20 of the Revised Code, if dog and kennel registration fees in any county are increased above two and ten dollars, respectively, under authority of division (B)(A) of this section, then on or before the first day of March following each year in which the increased fees are in effect, the county auditor shall draw on the dog and kennel fund a warrant payable to the college of veterinary medicine of the Ohio state university in an amount equal to ten cents for each dog and kennel registration fee received during the preceding year. The money received by the college of veterinary medicine of the Ohio state university under this division shall be applied for research and study of the diseases of dogs, particularly those transmittable to man humans, and for research of other diseases of dogs that by their nature will provide results applicable to the prevention and treatment of both human and canine illness.

(D) The Ohio state university college of veterinary medicine shall be responsible to report annually to the general assembly the progress of the research and study authorized and funded by division (C) of this section. The report shall briefly describe the research projects undertaken and assess the value of each. The report shall account for funds received pursuant to division (C) of this section and for the funds expended attributable to each research project and for other necessary expenses in conjunction with the research authorized by division (C) of this section. The report shall be filed with the general assembly by the first day of May of each year.

(E) The county auditor may authorize agents to receive applications for registration of dogs and kennels and to issue certificates of registration and tags. If authorized agents are employed in a county, each applicant for a dog or kennel registration shall pay to the agent an administrative fee of seventy-five cents in addition to the registration fee. The administrative fee shall be the compensation of the agent. The county auditor shall establish rules for reporting and accounting by his the agents. No administrative or similar fee shall be charged in any county except as authorized by this division.

Sec. 955.35.  The board of county commissioners, at the next regular meeting after claims in accordance with sections 955.29 to 955.34 of the Revised Code have been submitted, shall examine the same and may hear additional testimony or receive additional affidavits in regard thereto and may allow the amount previously certified by the dog warden or allowed by the board of township trustees, or a part thereof, or any amount in addition thereto, as it may find to be just, but in no event shall the amount allowed exceed the lesser of five hundred dollars per animal or the uninsured amount of the loss or injury. The claims shall be paid out of the dog and kennel fund or out of the general fund of the county, as provided in division (A)(2) of section 955.14 of the Revised Code. Such claims as are allowed in whole or in part shall be paid by voucher issued by the county auditor five days after the approval of the board of county commissioners has been entered. If the claim is to be paid out of the dog and kennel fund and the funds therein are insufficient to pay the claims, they shall be paid in the order allowed at the close of the next calendar month in which sufficient funds are available in the fund.

Sec. 959.99.  (A) Whoever violates section 959.01, 959.18, or 959.19 of the Revised Code is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates section 959.02 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the value of the animal killed or the injury done amounts to three hundred dollars or more, whoever violates section 959.02 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(C) Whoever violates section 959.03, 959.06, 959.12, 959.15, or 959.17 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

(D) Whoever violates division (A) of section 959.13 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree. In addition, the court may order the offender to forfeit the animal or livestock and may provide for its disposition including, but not limited to, the sale of the animal or livestock. If an animal or livestock is forfeited and sold pursuant to this division, the proceeds from the sale first shall be applied to pay the expenses incurred with regard to the care of the animal from the time it was taken from the custody of the former owner. The balance of the proceeds from the sale, if any, shall be paid to the former owner of the animal.

(E) Whoever violates section 959.14 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree on a first offense and a misdemeanor of the first degree on each subsequent offense.

(F) Whoever violates section 959.05 or 959.20 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(G) Whoever violates section 959.16 of the Revised Code is guilty of a felony of the fifth fourth degree.

SECTION 2 .  That existing sections 955.01, 955.04, 955.05, 955.08, 955.09, 955.14, 955.35, and 959.99 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

Please send questions and comments to the Webmaster.
© 2017 Legislative Information Systems | Disclaimer