Back to Ohio...
To us, making owners and their dogs more accountable for their actions seems like a common-sense idea. The vast majority of "dog problems" can be solved with the right combination of education and enforcement; nuisance and dangerous dog issues are no exception.
Breed specific bans, on the other hand, punish good dogs and owners along with the bad, do little to change owner behavior, and stir sensationalism while creating a false sense of security. There's no nice way to put it: breed bans are destructive, backwards, and just all around plum stoopid.
Yet despite its horrendous track record, it seems like every legislative season we see more attempts to ban scary looking dogs. Fortunately, these attempts fail quite often. But not always... so when we read something like this:
A House committee Wednesday rewrote a bill that started out as just the removal of the "pit bull" from state law as the only breed inherently deemed vicious. The bill now includes three classifications of dogs -- vicious, dangerous, and nuisance -- that its supporters say will make it easier for wardens to criminally go after owners for their dogs' behavior.
It is a good, good thing. Focusing on problems rather than appearances (er, "deeds, not breeds") will save resources, allow for smarter enforcement, and avoid demonizing (and criminalizing) good dogs and their owners.
But wait... there's more!
New Law Enforcement Training Requirements for Ohio Humane Agents?
House Bill 138 would require county humane society agents to complete at least 20 hours of training on Ohio Peace Officer Commission rules for "the investigation and prosecution of cruelty to and neglect of animals," according to an analysis by the state's Legislative Service Commission. Proof of the training would have to be filed with county recorder offices.
The goal is to ensure that humane society agents follow the proper law enforcement procedures when investigating alleged cruelty or neglect at kennels.
"Every day we hear more and more about cases of animal abuse," Gerberry said in a released statement. "It is important to emphasize that proper procedures must be followed at all times so that the courts will accept the evidence and proof that abuse has taken place. This can only be done with proper training."
Assuming that this training will also be highlighting safe, legitimate husbandry practices or devices, that may appear "abusive" to the uninitiated, and attract more law enforcement-minded (rather than animal-rightist minded) individuals to the fold, this could also be a very, very good thing.
Of course we're going to need some confirmation on just who's going to be conducting this training. That could make all the difference...
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