University of Vermont AAHS

Ohio Cruelty to Animals Statutes


OHIO STATUTES
TITLE IX AGRICULTURE--ANIMALS--FENCES
CHAPTER 959 OFFENSES RELATING TO DOMESTIC ANIMALS
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS


959.01 ABANDONING ANIMALS

No owner or keeper of a dog, cat, or other domestic animal, shall abandon such animal.


959.02 INJURING ANIMALS

No person shall maliciously, or willfully, and without the consent of the owner, kill or injure a horse, mare, foal, filly, jack, mule, sheep, goat, cow, steer, bull, heifer, ass, ox, swine, dog, cat, or other domestic animal that is the property of another. This section does not apply to a licensed veterinarian acting in an official capacity.


959.03 POISONING ANIMALS

No person shall maliciously, or willfully and without the consent of the owner, administer poison, except a licensed veterinarian acting in such capacity, to a horse, mare, foal, filly, jack, mule, sheep, goat, cow, steer, bull, heifer, ass, ox, swine, dog, cat, poultry, or any other domestic animal that is the property of another; and no person shall, willfully and without the consent of the owner, place any poisoned food where it may be easily found and eaten by any of such animals, either upon his own lands or the lands of another.


959.04 TRESPASSING ANIMALS

Sections 959.02 and 959.03 of the Revised Code do not extend to a person killing or injuring an animal or attempting to do so while endeavoring to prevent it from trespassing upon his enclosure, or while it is so trespassing, or while driving it away from his premises; provided within fifteen days thereafter, payment is made for damages done to such animal by such killing or injuring, less the actual amount of damage done by such animal while so trespassing, or a sufficient sum of money is deposited with the nearest judge of a county court or judge of a municipal court having jurisdiction within such time to cover such damages. Such deposit shall remain in the custody of such judge until there is a determination of the damages resulting from such killing or injury and from such trespass. Such judge and his bondsmen shall be responsible for the safekeeping of such money and for the payment thereof as for money collected upon a judgment.


959.05 DRUGGING ANIMALS ENTERED IN COMPETITION PROHIBITED

No person shall administer to any animal within forty-eight hours prior to the time that the animal competes at a fair or exhibition conducted by a county or independent agricultural society authorized under Chapter 1711. of the Revised Code or by the Ohio expositions commission any drug or medicament not specifically permitted under rules of the state racing commission promulgated pursuant to Chapter 3769. of the Revised Code or under rules of the society, in respect to a county or independent agricultural society, or of the Ohio expositions commission, in respect to the Ohio state fair. This section does not apply to any horse racing meeting conducted under a permit issued pursuant to Chapter 3769. of the Revised Code.


959.06 PAINLESS DESTRUCTION OF DOMESTIC ANIMALS

(A) No person shall destroy any domestic animal by the use of a high altitude decompression chamber or by any method other than a method that immediately and painlessly renders the domestic animal initially unconscious and subsequently dead.

(B) This section does not apply to or prohibit the slaughtering of livestock under Chapter 945. of the Revised Code, or the taking of any wild animal, as defined in section 1531.01 of the Revised Code, when taken in accordance with Chapter 1533. of the Revised Code.


SPECIFIC OFFENSES


959.13 CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

(A) No person shall:

(1) Torture an animal, deprive one of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate or kill, or impound or confine an animal without supplying it during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of good wholesome food and water;

(2) Impound or confine an animal without affording it, during such confinement, access to shelter from wind, rain, snow, or excessive direct sunlight if it can reasonably be expected that the animal would otherwise become sick or in some other way suffer. Division (A)(2) of this section does not apply to animals impounded or confined prior to slaughter. For the purpose of this section, shelter means a man-made enclosure, windbreak, sunshade, or natural windbreak or sunshade that is developed from the earth's contour, tree development, or vegetation.

(3) Carry or convey an animal in a cruel or inhuman manner;

(4) Keep animals other than cattle, poultry or fowl, swine, sheep, or goats in an enclosure without wholesome exercise and change of air, nor or [sic] feed cows on food that produces impure or unwholesome milk;

(5) Detain livestock in railroad cars or compartments longer than twenty-eight hours after they are so placed without supplying them with necessary food, water, and attention, nor permit such stock to be so crowded as to overlie, crush, wound, or kill each other.

(B) Upon the written request of the owner or person in custody of any particular shipment of livestock, which written request shall be separate and apart from any printed bill of lading or other railroad form, the length of time in which such livestock may be detained in any cars or compartments without food, water, and attention, may be extended to thirty-six hours without penalty therefor. This section does not prevent the dehorning of cattle.

(C) All fines collected for violations of this section shall be paid to the society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals, if there be such in the county, township, or municipal corporation where such violation occurred.


TITLE XVII CORPORATIONS--PARTNERSHIPS
CHAPTER 1717 HUMANE SOCIETIES


1717.01 DEFINITIONS

As used in sections 1717.01 to 1717.14, inclusive, of the Revised Code, and in every law relating to animals:

(A) "Animal" includes every living dumb creature;

(B) "Cruelty," "torment," and "torture" include every act, omission, or neglect by which unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue, when there is a reasonable remedy or relief;

(C) "Owner" and "person" include corporations. For the purpose of this section the knowledge and acts of the agents and employees of a corporation, in regard to animals transported, owned, or employed by, or in the custody of, such agents and employees, are the knowledge and acts of the corporation.


1717.02 OBJECTS AND POWERS OF HUMANE SOCIETIES

The objects of the Ohio humane society, and all societies organized under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code, shall be the inculcation of humane principles and the enforcement of laws for the prevention of cruelty, especially to children and animals. To promote those objects such societies may acquire property, real or personal, by purchase or gift. All property acquired by such a society, by gift, devise, or bequest, for special purposes, shall be vested in its board of trustees, which shall consist of three members elected by the society. The board shall manage such property and apply it in accordance with the terms of the gift, devise, or bequest, and may sell it and reinvest the proceeds.


1717.03 OHIO HUMANE SOCIETY

The state society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall remain a body corporate, under the name of "the Ohio humane society," with the powers, privileges, immunities, and duties possessed before March 21, 1887, by the state society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, specified by sections 1717.01 to 1717.14, inclusive, of the Revised Code, as to county humane societies.

Branches of the Ohio humane society consisting of not less than ten members each may be organized in any part of the state to prosecute the work of the societies in their several localities, under rules and regulations prescribed by the Ohio humane society. Humane societies organized in any county under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code may become branches of the Ohio humane society by resolution adopted at a meeting called for that purpose, a copy of which resolution shall be forwarded to the secretary of state.

The Ohio humane society may elect such officers, and make such rules, regulations, and bylaws, as are deemed expedient by its members for their own government and the proper management of its affairs.


1717.04 AGENTS OF OHIO HUMANE SOCIETY

The Ohio humane society may appoint agents, in any county where no active county humane society exists under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code, to represent it and to receive and account for all funds coming to it from fines or otherwise, and may also appoint agents at large to prosecute its work throughout the state. Such agents may arrest any person found violating any law for the protection of persons or animals, or the prevention of cruelty thereto. Upon making such arrest the agent forthwith shall convey the person arrested before some court or magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense, and there make complaint against him.

Such agents shall not make such arrests within a municipal corporation unless their appointment has been approved by the mayor of the municipal corporation, or within a county beyond the limits of a municipal corporation unless their appointment has been approved by the probate judge of the county. Such mayor or probate judge shall keep a record of such appointments.


1717.05 COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETIES

A society for the prevention of acts of cruelty to animals may be organized in any county by the association of not less than seven persons.

The members of such society, at a meeting called for the purpose, shall elect not less than three of their members as its board of directors, and such directors shall continue in office until their successors are duly chosen.

The secretary or clerk of such meeting shall make a true record of the proceedings thereat and certify and forward such record to the secretary of state, who shall record it. Such record shall contain the name by which the association is to be known, and from and after its filing with the secretary of state the board of directors and the associates, and their successors, shall have the powers, privileges, and immunities incident to incorporated companies. A copy of such record, certified by the secretary of state, shall be taken in all courts and places in this state as evidence that such society is a duly organized and incorporated body.

Such society may elect such officers, and make such rules, regulations, and bylaws, as are deemed expedient by its members for its own government and the proper management of its affairs.


1717.06 AGENTS OF COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY

A county humane society organized under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code may appoint agents, who are residents of the county or municipal corporation for which the appointment is made, for the purpose of prosecuting any person guilty of an act of cruelty to persons or animals. Such agents may arrest any person found violating sections 1717.01 to 1717.14, inclusive, of the Revised Code, or any other law for protecting persons or animals or preventing acts of cruelty thereto. Upon making such arrest the agent forthwith shall convey the person arrested before some court or magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense, and there make complaint against him on oath or affirmation of the offense.

All appointments of agents under this section shall be approved by the mayor of the municipal corporation for which they are made. If the society exists outside a municipal corporation, such appointments shall be approved by the probate judge of the county for which they are made. Such mayor or probate judge shall keep a record of such appointments.


1717.07 SALARY OF AGENTS

Upon the approval by the mayor of a municipal corporation of the appointment of an agent under section 1717.06 of the Revised Code, the legislative authority of such municipal corporation shall pay monthly to such agent, from the general revenue fund of the municipal corporation, such salary as the legislative authority deems just and reasonable. Upon the approval by the probate judge of a county of such an appointment, the board of county commissioners of such county shall pay monthly to such agent, from the general revenue fund of the county, such salary as the board deems just and reasonable. Such board and such legislative authority may agree upon the amount each is to pay such agent monthly. The salary to be paid monthly to such agent by the legislative authority of a village shall be not less than five dollars; by the legislative authority of a city, not less than twenty dollars; and by the board of county commissioners of a county, not less than twenty-five dollars. Not more than one such agent in each county shall receive remuneration from the board under this section.


1717.08 POLICE POWERS OF OFFICERS, AGENTS, AND MEMBERS

An officer, agent, or member of the Ohio humane society or of a county humane society may interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty to animals in his presence, may use such force as is necessary to prevent it, and to that end may summon to his aid any bystanders.


1717.09 MEMBER MAY REQUIRE POLICE TO ACT

A member of the Ohio humane society or of a county humane society may require the sheriff of any county, the constable of any township, the marshal or a policeman of any municipal corporation, or any agent of such a society, to arrest any person found violating the laws in relation to cruelty to persons or animals, and to take possession of any animal cruelly treated in their respective counties or municipal corporations, and deliver such animal to the proper officers of the society.


1717.10 FEES

For all services rendered in carrying out sections 1717.01 to 1717.14, inclusive, of the Revised Code, a sheriff, constable, marshal, or policeman shall be paid such fees as he is allowed for like services in other cases. Such fees must be charged as costs, and reimbursed to the humane society by the person convicted.


1717.11 LIABILITY TO OWNER IN DAMAGES

A person guilty of cruelty to an animal which is the property of another shall be liable to the owner of the animal in damages, in addition to the penalties prescribed by law.


1717.12 CONVICTION OF AGENT NO BAR TO ACTION AGAINST EMPLOYER

The conviction of an agent or employee of cruelty to animals does not bar an action for cruelty to animals against his employer for allowing a state of facts to exist which will induce cruelty to animals on the part of such agent or employee.


1717.13 ANY PERSON MAY PROTECT ANIMAL

When, in order to protect any animal from neglect, it is necessary to take possession of it, any person may do so. When an animal is impounded or confined, and continues without necessary food, water, or proper attention for more than fifteen successive hours, any person may, as often as is necessary, enter any place in which the animal is impounded or confined and supply it with necessary food, water, and attention, so long as it remains there, or, if necessary or convenient, he may remove such animal; and he shall not be liable to an action for such entry. In all cases the owner or custodian of such animal, if known to such person, immediately shall be notified by him of such action. If the owner or custodian is unknown to such person, and cannot with reasonable effort be ascertained by him, such animal shall be considered an estray and dealt with as such.

The necessary expenses for food and attention given to an animal under this section may be collected from the owner of such animal, and the animal shall not be exempt from levy and sale upon execution issued upon a judgment for such expenses.


PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS


1717.15 APPROPRIATIONS FROM GENERAL FUND OF COUNTY TO HUMANE SOCIETY

The board of county commissioners may, at the end of each year, make a yearly appropriation to the county humane society from the general fund of the county of such funds as the board deems reasonable. Such funds are to supplement any gifts, funds received from the dog and kennel fund, and any other funds received by the society and are to be used to carry out the activities of the society.


TITLE XXIX CRIMES--PROCEDURE
CHAPTER 2931 JURISDICTION; VENUE
PROCEDURE


2931.18 HUMANE SOCIETY MAY EMPLOY ATTORNEY AND ASSISTANTS

A humane society or its agent may employ an attorney, and may also employ one or more assistant attorneys to prosecute violations of law relating to:

(A) Prevention of cruelty to animals or children;

(B) Abandonment, nonsupport, or ill-treatment of a child by its parent;

(C) Employment of a child under fourteen years of age in public exhibitions or vocations injurious to health, life, or morals or which cause or permit such child to suffer unnecessary physical or mental pain;

(D) Neglect or refusal of an adult to support destitute parent. Such attorneys shall be paid out of the county treasury in an amount approved as just and reasonable by the board of county commissioners of that county.


CHAPTER 2933 PEACE WARRANTS; SEARCH WARRANTS
SEARCH WARRANTS


2933.31 SEARCH IN CASE OF ANIMALS

When complaint is made, on oath or affirmation to a judge or magistrate, that the complainant believes that the law relating to or affecting animals is being, or is about to be violated in a particular building or place, such judge or magistrate shall forthwith issue and deliver a warrant, directed to any sheriff, deputy sheriff, marshal, deputy marshal, watchman, police officer, or agent of a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, authorizing him to enter and search such building or place and arrest all persons there violating, or attempting to violate, such law, and bring such persons before a judge or magistrate within the county within which such offense has been committed. An attempt to violate such law relating to animals is a violation thereof.


Reviewed by AAHS in September 2001.


Return to Top of This Page
Return to Cruelty to Animals Page