130th Ohio General Assembly
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(123rd General Assembly)
(Substitute House Bill Number 350)



AN ACT
To amend sections 955.22, 955.99, and 959.99 of the Revised Code to prohibit debarking or surgically silencing a vicious dog, to prohibit the possession of a debarked or surgically silenced vicious dog, to prohibit falsely attesting on a written waiver form prior to having a dog debarked or surgically silenced that the dog is not a vicious dog, to provide an affirmative defense to the prohibitions created by the bill for a veterinarian who obtains before a dog is debarked or surgically silenced a written waiver form attesting that the dog is not a vicious dog, and to increase the penalty for a subsequent violation of the dogfighting law.

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

SECTION 1 .  That sections 955.22, 955.99, and 959.99 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 955.22.  (A) As used in this section, "dangerous dog" and "vicious dog" have the same meanings as in section 955.11 of the Revised Code.

(B) No owner, keeper, or harborer of any female dog shall permit it to go beyond the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer at any time the dog is in heat, unless the dog is properly in leash.

(C) No Except when a dog is lawfully engaged in hunting and accompanied by the owner, keeper, harborer, or handler of the dog, no owner, keeper, or harborer of any dog shall fail at any time to keep it do either of the following:

(1) Keep the dog physically confined or restrained upon the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer by a leash, tether, adequate fence, supervision, or secure enclosure to prevent escape, or;

(2) Keep the dog under the reasonable control of some person, except when the dog is lawfully engaged in hunting accompanied by the owner, keeper, or harborer or a handler.

(D) No Except when a dangerous or vicious dog is lawfully engaged in hunting or training for the purpose of hunting and is accompanied by the owner, keeper, harborer, or handler of the dog, no owner, keeper, or harborer of a dangerous or vicious dog shall fail to do either of the following, except when the dog is lawfully engaged in hunting or training for the purpose of hunting, accompanied by the owner, keeper, harborer, or a handler:

(1) While that dog is on the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer, securely confine it at all times in a locked pen which that has a top, locked fenced yard, or other locked enclosure which that has a top, except that a dangerous dog may, in the alternative, be tied with a leash or tether so that the dog is adequately restrained;

(2) While that dog is off the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer, keep it that dog on a chain-link leash or tether that is not more than six feet in length and additionally do at least one of the following:

(a) Keep that dog in a locked pen which that has a top, locked fenced yard, or other locked enclosure which that has a top;

(b) Have the leash or tether controlled by a person who is of suitable age and discretion or securely attach, tie, or affix the leash or tether to the ground or a stationary object or fixture so that the dog is adequately restrained and station such a person in close enough proximity to that dog so as to prevent it from causing injury to any person;

(c) Muzzle that dog.

(E) No owner, keeper, or harborer of a vicious dog shall fail to obtain liability insurance with an insurer authorized to write liability insurance in this state providing coverage in each occurrence, subject to a limit, exclusive of interest and costs, of not less than fifty one hundred thousand dollars because of damage or bodily injury to or death of a person caused by the vicious dog.

(F) No person shall do any of the following:

(1) Debark or surgically silence a dog that the person knows or has reason to believe is a vicious dog;

(2) Possess a vicious dog if the person knows or has reason to believe that the dog has been debarked or surgically silenced;

(3) falsely attest on a waiver forM provided by the veterinarian under division (G) of this section that the person's dog is not a vicious dog or otherwise provide false information on that written waiver form.

(G) Before a veterinarian debarks or surgically silences a dog, the veterinarian may give the owner of the dog a written waiver form that attests that the dog is not a vicious dog. The written waiver form shall include all of the following:

(1) The veterinarian's license number and current business address;

(2) The number of the license of the dog if the dog is licensed;

(3) A reasonable description of the age, coloring, and gender of the dog as well as any notable markings on the dog;

(4) The signature of the owner of the dog attesting that the owner's dog is not a vicious dog;

(5) A statement that division (F) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code prohibits any person from doing any of the following:

(a) Debarking or surgically silencing a dog that the person knows or has reason to believe is a vicious dog;

(b) Possessing a vicious dog if the person knows or has reason to believe that the dog has been debarked or surgically silenced;

(c) Falsely attesting on a waiver form provided by the veterinarian under division (G) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code that the person's dog is not a vicious dog or otherwise provide false information on that written waiver form.

(H) It is an affirmative defense to a charge of a violation of division (F) of this section that the veterinarian who is charged with the violation obtained, prior to debarking or surgically silencing the dog, a written waiver form that complies with division (G) of this section and that attests that the dog is not a vicious dog.

Sec. 955.99.  (A)(1) Whoever violates division (E) of section 955.11 of the Revised Code because of a failure to comply with division (B) of that section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

(2) Whoever violates division (E) of section 955.11 of the Revised Code because of a failure to comply with division (C) or (D) of that section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on a first offense and of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on each subsequent offense.

(B) Whoever violates section 955.10, 955.23, 955.24, or 955.25 of the Revised Code is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

(C) Whoever violates section 955.261, 955.39, or 955.50 of the Revised Code is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on a first offense and of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on each subsequent offense.

(D) Whoever violates division (F) of section 955.16 or division (B) of section 955.43 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

(E)(1) Whoever violates section 955.21 or division (B) or (C) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars or more than one hundred dollars on a first offense, and on each subsequent offense shall be fined not less than seventy-five dollars or more than two hundred fifty dollars and may be imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

(2) In addition to the penalties prescribed in division (E)(1) of this section, if the offender is guilty of a violation of division (B) or (C) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code, the court may order the offender to personally supervise the dog that he the offender owns, keeps, or harbors, to cause that dog to complete dog obedience training, or to do both.

(F) If a violation of division (D) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code involves a dangerous dog, whoever violates that division is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on a first offense and of a misdemeanor of the third degree on each subsequent offense. Additionally, the court may order the offender to personally supervise the dangerous dog that he the offender owns, keeps, or harbors, to cause that dog to complete dog obedience training, or to do both, and the court may order the offender to obtain liability insurance pursuant to division (E) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code. The court, in the alternative, may order the dangerous dog to be humanely destroyed by a licensed veterinarian, the county dog warden, or the county humane society.

(G) If a violation of division (D) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code involves a vicious dog, whoever violates that division is guilty of one of the following:

(1) A felony of the fourth degree on a first or subsequent offense if the dog kills or seriously injures a person. Additionally, the court shall order that the vicious dog be humanely destroyed by a licensed veterinarian, the county dog warden, or the county humane society.

(2) A misdemeanor of the first degree on a first offense and a felony of the fourth degree on each subsequent offense. Additionally, the court may order the vicious dog to be humanely destroyed by a licensed veterinarian, the county dog warden, or the county humane society.

(3) A misdemeanor of the first degree if the dog causes injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person.

(H) Whoever violates division (A)(2) of section 955.01 or division (E) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(I) Whoever violates division (C) of section 955.221 of the Revised Code is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. Each day of continued violation of division (C) of section 955.221 of the Revised Code constitutes a separate offense. Fines levied and collected for violations of that division (C) of section 955.221 of the Revised Code shall be distributed by the mayor or clerk of the municipal or county court in accordance with section 733.40, division (F) of section 1901.31, or division (C) of section 1907.20 of the Revised Code to the treasury of the county, township, or municipal corporation whose resolution or ordinance was violated.

(J) Whoever violates division (F)(1), (2), or (3) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code is guilty of a felony of the fourth degree. Additionally, the court shall order that the vicious dog be humanely destroyed by a licensed veterinarian, the county dog warden, or the county humane society.

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 fourth degree for a first offense and a felony of the third degree on each subsequent offense.

SECTION 2 .  That existing sections 955.22, 955.99, and 959.99 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

SECTION 3 .  A person who possesses a debarked or surgically silenced vicious dog, as defined in section 955.11 of the Revised Code, shall, within ninety days of the effective date of this act, have that vicious dog humanely destroyed by a licensed veterinarian, the county dog warden, or the county humane society.

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