Reality Check: Tri-State's evolving animal rights laws - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Reality Check: Tri-State's evolving animal rights laws

(PHOTO: FOX19 File) (PHOTO: FOX19 File)
FOX19 -

Sad news broke over this past week that Bela, the 9-year old German Shepherd willed by his deceased owner to be either put down and buried with her in Indiana or to live out his days at an animal sanctuary in Utah, was put to sleep after he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

This was not the ending anyone wanted and yet Bela's story serves as just one example of how animal rights laws in the Tri-State have evolved, giving our pets more legal rights than at any time in history.

Thanks to Indiana's pet trust law Connie Lay, Bela's owner, was able to provide for him beyond her death. Similar laws exist throughout the Tri-State, even in Kentucky, historically one of the worst states in the country when it comes to animal rights legislation. In Ohio, pets are granted the following legal rights:

  • Not to be harmed.
  • To be properly cared for.

  • To have living space

  • Even to own property

The pets' rights may soon expand. Joe Schiavoni, Ohio's Senate Minority Leader, is considering landmark legislation which would include criminal charges for owners who knowingly leave their pets chained up outside during cold winter nights and hot summer days.

"These are domestic animals. They can't take care of themselves in sub-zero temps or in extreme heat. We have to make sure we have laws on the books that protect animals because they can't protect themselves," said Schiavoni.

The senator said a bill could be passed sometime this year. This proves how far we have come from the time when pets were viewed under the law as personal property, like a toaster or a couch, and really no surprise given that six in 10 people now consider their pets to be part of the family.

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