New Ohio law makes abusing pets a felony crime

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A new law in Ohio stiffens penalties for abusing pets.

The law that took effect Tuesday makes it a fifth-degree felony to knowingly cause serious physical harm to a companion animal. Such an act could include depriving it of water, food and shelter. People punished under the law could face between six months and one year in prison and fines of up to $2,500.

A companion animal does not include livestock or any wild animal.

The law also imposes mandatory time in prison and mandatory fines for assaulting a police dog or horse that dies as a result of its injuries.

The measure further requires state officials to develop resources to help veterinarians identify clients or potential clients who may abuse opioids and may use their pets to get opioids.

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