It is the first of its kind in the state of Ohio, a law requiring every convicted animal abuse felon be placed on a registry in Cuyahoga County, preventing them from ever owning an animal again.
The move comes after a statewide law was passed late last year, taking some animal abuse cases from a misdemeanor to a felony.
After that law passed, Cuyahoga County Councilwoman, Sunny Simon knew another step needed to be taken to make sure shelters, breeders, adoption agencies, and pet stores, all know exactly who they’re giving their animals to.
“We’re proud that Cuyahoga County is the first registry and we don’t think it’s going to be the last,” said Simon.
Simon spearheaded the county law that prevents any convicted animal abuse felon from ever owning an animal again. Her animal abuse ordinance passed unanimously, 11-0 at Tuesday night’s County Council meeting.
“We see so much abuse out there and when animals are in our care, any shelter’s care, we want to make sure they go to the best home and not into a situation where an animal’s going to be subject to a lot of pain,” said Simon.
Another piece of the landmark county law is a registry containing the names and information of all convicted animal abuse felons.
“The cost to the taxpayers is minimal, and it’s just setting up a registry with the IT Department, and it really is going to be a huge valuable tool of minimal expense,” said Simon.
“I can’t imagine that any group that is in it for the welfare of animals won’t check that registry,” said Ayse Dunlap, the Director of Operations for the Animal Protective League of Cleveland.
It’s no surprise; organizations like the Cleveland APL vocally supported the law. Heinous animal abuse crimes are all too common in Northeast Ohio.
“We can check that registry and make sure like you said, 6,000 animals will not be in a home with someone who’s been convicted of felony animal abuse, and that’s critical,” said Dunlap.
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s office will maintain the registry.
The next step Simon said is to make the registry state-wide, to make sure that all counties are on the same page when it comes to convicted animal abuse felons.