DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A local lawmaker introduced long-awaited reform to Ohio’s vicious dog laws.
Sen. Bill Beagle (R- Tipp City) introduced the Klonda Richey Act on Monday.
“The system has failed Klonda Richey, and many others in our community,” said Senator Beagle. “We all agree there are ways to improve the code and hold owners of dangerous dogs more accountable by including penalties for offenders and tools for local officials who deal with problem pet owners.”
It’s named for the Dayton woman who was mauled to death by her neighbors’ dogs in February 2014.
Prior to her death, Richey made at least a dozen complaints to police about the animals. She even tried to get a civil protection order but failed.
The Klonda Richey Act plans to:
- Create an overall penalty structure for nuisance, dangerous and vicious dogs including clear penalties for seriously injuring or killing a person or companion animal. Includes the permission for dogs to be humanely destroyed when they kill a person, companion animal or seriously injure a person.
- Extend the amount of time felons cannot own dogs from 3 to 5 years.
- Clarify that dog wardens have arresting authority.
- Require every call to a dog warden include an investigation or follow up.
- Require owners to respond to warnings or postings on the dwelling about their dogs within a defined amount of time.
- Allow witnesses to provide notarized affidavits, current codes do not allow a dog warden to cite owners unless they’re a witness to the incident.
- Change ‘provocation’ to an affirmative defense, instead of being an element of the offense.
- Create a penalty for not complying with the requirements of transferring a dangerous dog.
- Requires each dog deemed dangerous be registered and filed in a database that is updated annually.
“Everything happens for a reason, my family has always said there is a reason for everything. Death is a horrible thing, but at least something is being done” said Carol Myers, Klonda Richey’s cousin.
A Montgomery County Grand Jury declined felony charges against the dogs’ owners, Andrew Nason and Julie Custer, because there was a lack of evidence showing the dogs had ever bitten or attacked another animal or human. The dogs were never designated as dangerous of vicious prior to the attack on Richey.
2 NEWS Investigates has been tracking the progress of the proposed legislation for months.
In February, Sen. Beagle told Natalie Tendall the bill aims to give those who deal with vicious dogs on a daily basis more tools to deal with the pets and their owners.
“We’re looking at higher penalties, more serious charges, perhaps as simple as putting signs in yards that say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a dangerous dog in my yard,’ making sure our dog wardens are able to arrest people in case there are problems with owners,” he said.
The owners of the dogs that attacked Richey pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of failure to control dogs. They face possible jail time when they are sentenced in May.