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State lawmakers seek to increase penalties for kennel abuse

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COLUMBUS — The Senate version of the Ohio budget increases penalties for kennel owners who abuse animals — but it's not as tough as some would have liked.

The new budget amendment would allow felony criminal charges against kennel owners or employees who “knowingly” abuse animals in a variety of specified ways. But it provides for only misdemeanor charges against those accused of abuse due to negligence or depriving animals of food and water.

The Vindicator reports that some who advocated for tougher laws for kennels are disappointed lawmakers didn't model the amendment after a proposed law named for Nitro, a dog that was among more than a dozen found dead or dying from extreme neglect at a Youngtown-area kennel in 2008.

They wanted felony charges for neglect and starvation.

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