Nitro's Law Supporters Converge at Statehouse
Updated: Tuesday, April 23 2013, 08:06 PM EDT
COLUMBUS -- Animal lovers gathered at the statehouse Tuesday to call for the passage of a bill that would increase penalties for abusive kennel owners.
The legislation -- called Nitro's Law -- would allow Ohio prosecutors the option of charging kennel owners with felonies if cruelty against an animal is proven.
The bill is named for a three-year-old Rottweiler that starved to death in a Youngstown kennel five years ago. Nitro's owners were among those at the statehouse demanding the law's approval.
“When we had left our beautiful healthy dog at High Caliber, he weighed in at 105 lbs.," Tom Siesto said. "But the last time we saw our boy, he was dead, only weighing 45 lbs. [and] frozen solid.”
The man held responsible for Nitro's death spent four months in jail. The dog's owners believe the sentence was too lenient.
“Crimes against defenseless animals are the same types of crimes done to defenseless children and other humans, and are all one in the same, they are all victims,” Siesto said.
Nitro's Law has faced an uphill climb at the statehouse thus far. The bill died in the Senate in 2012, and has been presented during 3 legislative sessions.
Despite the setbacks, the legislation's supporters continue to fight for the bill's passage. Elizabeth Raab, who owned Nitro along with Siesto, believes the legislation is worth fighting for.
“We don't want what happened to our family member, Nitro, his kennel mates, and our family to have to go through this again. If we can just save one life it will be worth it."
Ohio lawmakers could vote on the bill as early as April 30.
Reporter: Ashley Yore
Web Producer: Ken Hines