Great news for the thousands of Nitro’s Law supporters. The Ohio House of Representatives has approved House Bill 90 that gives some bite to a law that used to slap the wrist of a kennel or shelter owner who commits animal cruelty.
The bill, commonly known as Nitro’s Law, is named for a Rottweiler who died at the hands of a Youngstown kennel owner in 2008.
The dog’s death sparked a campaign to put an end to allowing people to knowingly harm an animal and walk away unscathed. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Nitro’s heartbreaking story, this is a recap:
Tom and Liz Rabb of New York paid Youngstown kennel owner Steve Croley $2,000 to provide obedience training for their Rottweiler Nitro. After two years in his acquaintance, they thought they knew Croley well enough to trust him with their dog. They also left three months’ worth of food and vitamins when they delivered Nitro to the kennel.
A few months later, Nitro and eight other dogs were found starved to death at the kennel. He had lost 100 pounds and weighed only 50 pounds when his body was recovered.
After humane officials broke into the kennel to save 11 starving dogs and retrieve the dead ones, Croley was arrested and charged with the maximum penalty provided by state law.
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 would receive only a minimum amount of time behind bars.
Understandably, animal lovers across the country, and especially in Ohio, were outraged and formed social media groups united in getting the law changed. Every time a court heard a new animal cruelty case, legions of Nitro’s Law supporters showed up to protest the lax penalties a judge could legally hand down.
House Bill 90 makes specific prohibitions against negligently and knowingly committing acts of cruelty against companion animals. The bill gives prosecutors the ability to charge an owner, manager or employee of a kennel who engages in cruel treatment with a first-degree misdemeanor or fifth-degree felony that could net the perpetrator a prison sentence of up to 12 months per offense.
If approved by the Ohio Senate, the law will bring Ohio in line with 45 other states that define animal cruelty as a felony offense.
One of a Kind Pet Spay and Neuter Clinic, in collaboration with PetSmart Charities, will offer reduced price spay and neuter surgeries for animals under 6 months old. Surgical fees at the clinic at 1700 W. Exchange St., Akron, are $20 for each pet that qualifies.
According to Georjette Thomas, director of organization advancement for One of a Kind, research has proven that animals that reach sexual maturity before being spayed or neutered are susceptible to a higher risk of reproductive organ cancers than those animals spayed before their first heat cycle or reaching male maturity. As a result, the recommendation to alter pets was revised to recommend surgery before the first heat cycle, which is 4 to 6 months for cats and 6 to 12 months for dogs.
Most recent research suggests that it is safe to perform sterilization surgeries as early as 8 weeks old with the pet weighing 2 pounds or more. With better equipment, better drugs and safer methodologies, veterinarians routinely perform pediatric spay and neuter surgeries every day in clinics across the country, Thomas said.
Appointments are limited and can be made by calling the clinic at 330-865-6890.
Other pets in the news
Adopt Me Meow 33-hour cat adoption event — Paws & Prayers will hold its second annual marathon cat adoption event from 9 a.m. June 22 through 6 p.m. June 23 at PetSmart Chapel Hill parking lot, 355 Howe Ave., Akron. The event will feature cats and kittens from several area rescue and shelters with discounted adoption rates. There will be raffles, music and $250 in PetSmart coupon giveaways. Last year, the event found homes for 108 cats and kittens, said Paws & Prayers Executive Director Jen D’Aurelio. For more information, call Paws & Prayers at 330-475-8300, or visit www.pawsandprayers.org.
Low-cost rabies clinic — Summit County Public Health is offering low-cost rabies vaccinations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 8 at the Barberton Utility Garage (water garage), 175 Water St. SW. Pet Guards will administer the vaccination for dogs and cats for $8 per animal. For more information, call 330-926-5600 or visit www.scphoh.org.
Imagine the PAWSibilities Rummage Sale — Humane Society of Greater Akron will hold a rummage sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 7 and 8 at the Stow-Kent Shopping Plaza, 4301 Kent Road, Stow. Shelter patrons and animal lovers have donated used and new household items for the sale. Proceeds will go to finding homes for neglected, abused and abandoned animals at the center.
2014 Portage APL calendar — Submit photos of pets adopted from the Portage County Animal Protective League with an order for a calendar and the picture will be used in the calendar. Orders and photos will be taken until Aug. 1. Visit www.payitsquare.com/collect-page/10061 for pricing packages or call 330-296-4022.
Pet Lover’s Garage Sale — 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 15, CleverPup101 Schoolhouse, 788 Wye Road, Bath, to benefit Rescue Animal MP3 Project. The event will be held during the Bath Community Garage Sale. Donations of new or gently used pet items for the sale are being collected at the schoolhouse. No food, treat, or chew-related items, please. Raffle prizes will be featured from area pet service companies during the sale. For more information, call 330-620-6180. Visit rescueanimalmp3.org to learn more about the MP3 project.
Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or send an email to email@example.com.