For the first time in Ohio, people responsible for caring for animals can be charged with a felony for harming one.
Gov. John Kasich signed the law Sunday in Columbus creating a fifth degree felony charge for any kennel owner, operator or employee who abuses an animal in their care.
The law is known by animal activists as Nitro’s law, named after a Rottweiler who died at the hands of a Youngstown kennel owner in 2008. The dog and eight other animals were found starved to death when humane officials raided the kennel.
Owner Steve Croley, who said he couldn’t afford to feed the animals, was found guilty and sentenced to four months in prison. Under Ohio law, Croley faced misdemeanors and a minimal amount of time behind bars.
Offenders now may face felony charges on the first offense.