Ohio Animal Advocates (OAA)
~ Ohio’s Voice for Animals ~

Numerous states have state-level organizations which address and implement animal welfare initiatives. Ohio did not–until OAA was formed in 2018 to advocate for systemic change in animal welfare and fill this critical void.

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OAA Mission Areas
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Recent Events and Announcements

  • 5/24/2020: Abby Lavelle, one of the original founders of OAA, passed away 5/21/2020 after a courageous battle with ovarian cancer.  After retiring from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Abby devoted her time to animal advocacy and rescue.  She spent many years as a liaison between the elected officials, the Franklin County Dog Shelter and the public.  Abby made a big impact on many people and saved the lives of countless animals – she will be sorely missed.
  • 05/22/2020: OAA welcomes aboard Jack Shaner as our new at-large Board member.  Jack was the Deputy Director and Senior Director of Legislative and Public Affairs at the Ohio Environmental Council, and Caucus Staff Policy Director to the Ohio Senate Minority Leadership in the Ohio General Assembly.  We are fortunate to add Jack to our board to help with our policy, program and fundraising efforts.
  • 05/22/2020: OAA welcomes aboard Krista Hyme as our new at-large Board member.  Krista is an elementary school teacher at Johnnycake Corners Elementary in the Olentangy School District, and first came aboard as an OAA advisor.  Excited to help OAA develop humane education projects, she is joining our board to lead that effort.  We are so lucky to have Krista and our most recent addition, Mark Finneran, OAA new Treasurer, who brings not only financial and fundraising experience to our board, but also experience as a statehouse legislative aide.  Our thanks to Paula Weiser, who devoted enormous energy, time and talent to developing OAA website and operational capacity serving as Vice-President and Treasurer.
  • 05/21/2020: As Ohio and local government start to reopen, we ask that you reach out to Hilliard City Council and urge them to continue their efforts of drafting a community cat ordinance – working with community members and groups such as OAA. COVID-19 may have halted human interaction, but it did not stop outdoor cat activity including kitten season. Hilliard and communities around Ohio need community cat ordinances that focus on community partnerships with trap/neuter/return (TNR) groups to humanely reduce populations and address nuisance issues.
  • 05/20/2020: As Congress returns we must urge our federal lawmakers to pass the Big Cat Safety Act, the Child and Animal Abuse Detection and Reporting Act , and the Humane Cosmetics Act. Please contact your federal lawmakers TODAY and ask them to support these important animal welfare bills and pass them out of Congress this session.
  • 05/19/2020: SNAP of Central Ohio is working with The Animal Health Organization (TAHO) during this health crisis to help pets who need spay/neuter in central Ohio.  SNAP requests if you need assistance, email info@snapofcentralohio.org.  OAA has statewide lists identifying resources for low-cost spay/neuter, pet food pantries, and safe havens for pets needing protection from domestic violence.
  • 05/18/2020:  As the state legislature continues to meet and hold hearings, there are three important animal welfare bills we need to encourage our lawmakers to support – H.B. 33 which will require social workers and other professions to report animal abuse (action alert), H.B. 350 which would make bestiality and cockfighting a crime throughout the state (action alert), and S.B. 205 which would increase the penalties for animal cruelty (action alert).  Please contact your state legislators TODAY and ask them to move these bills through committees and floor sessions as they will break for recess soon.
  • 05/15/2020: Unfortunately, Ohio H.B. 553 was introduced which would prevent the Ohio Division of Wildlife from adopting rules to regulate the killing of coyotes – including banning cruel coyote trophy killing contests as well as year-round coyote and trapping. This bill is moving quickly as there was a sponsor hearing on 5/12/2020 and proponent hearing scheduled 5/20/2020 had a hearing in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. OAA asks that you strongly urge your state representative TODAY to oppose H553 (action alert), as it is critical that the scientists at the Ohio Division of Wildlife maintain authority to regulate all of Ohio’s authority – not lobbyists or lawmakers. 
  • 05/12/2020: A House version of a bill to ban gas chamber use to euthanize animals (Ohio H.B. 551) was recently introduced and sent to the House Local Government Committee. Please urge your State Representative to support Ohio H.B. 551 and your State Senator to support Ohio S.B. 167 and end this inhumane practice. 
  • 05/07/2020: Columbus Humane will provide free cat and dog food for residents in the Franklin County area that are struggling to feel their pets.  Starting 5/7/20 the community can sign-up for pet food by appointment for pick-up and curbside delivery at https://www.columbushumane.org/pet-food-assistance-program.
  • 05/06/2020: OAA welcomes aboard Krista Hyme as our new educational advisor.  Krista is an elementary school teacher at Johnnycake Corners Elementary in the Olentangy School District, and is excited to help us develop humane education projects throughout the state.  Krista is national board certified in early childhood development.
  • 05/04/2020: Not only are coyotes brutally killed in the thousands in Ohio, but such indiscriminate killing leads to human fatalities.  Please contact your State Representative and urge opposition to Ohio House Bill 553, which would prevent the Ohio Division of Wildlife from adopting rules to protect coyotes and our communities.
  • 04/30/2020: Watch Muskingham County Sheriff video on why the federal Big Cat Act must be passed to protect both exotic cats and community members, then contact your federal lawmakers and ask them to pass this bill out of Congress
  • 04/29/2020: April 2020 marks the 19th year of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Each April, communities come together to raise awareness and support prevention programming in the hopes of eliminating sexual abuse, assault, and harassment.  Did you know that family pets are often sexual offense victims? Bestiality is not a crime everywhere in Ohio! We need you to contact your State Representative and request support of Ohio House Bill 350 which would make bestiality a crime throughout Ohio.
  • 04/28/2020: OAA is pleased to feature Licking County Trap-Neuter-Return as a new Partner! Licking County TNR is 100% donor funded, and the community’s generosity has enabled Licking County TNR to serve over 1,000 cats in more than 70 colonies. Welcome, Licking County TNR!
  • 04/28/2020: Meet Mark Finneran! He joined the OAA Board this month and has assumed responsibility as Treasurer. Welcome, Mark!
  • 04/21/2020: Join WildEarth Guardians and staff from the Humane Society of the United States for a free webinar Thursday, April 23, about ending cruel and unsporting wildlife killing contests! Register here!
  • 04/17/2020: A Bronx Zoo tiger tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 causing some to fear animals—including pets—could potentially spread the virus which causes COVID-19 in humans. Per the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “There have been no reports of pets or livestock becoming ill with COVID-19 in the United States” and “no evidence to suggest domestic animals … that may be incidentally infected by humans, play a role in the spread of COVID-19.”  An AVMA report offers hygiene recommendations for pet owners, and pet owners should create emergency pet-care plans. For temporary food sources, see OAA’s state-wide Pet Food Pantry listing. Also see possible grant options that may be helpful during the pandemic.  Our pets need us, and we need them!  
  • 04/16/2020: The National LINK Coalition’s April LINK-Letter offers a special focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing the risk of domestic, child, animal, and elder abuse as families self-isolate.  Help is on the horizon as $2 million in grants is now available through the Department of Justice for co-sheltering pets and survivors.
  • 04/16/2020: As “Tiger King” enters its third week among Netflix’s top ratings, Ohio viewers would notice the part of the documentary that hits close to home–the Zanesville massacre in 2011.  A total of 48 exotic animals, including Bengal tigers, African lions, bears, cougars, wolves, and monkeys were killed.  This horrific incident led to passage of Ohio’s Dangerous Wild Animal Act in 2012. However, exotic ownership still occurs. In 2019, a serval–brought across state lines from Indiana–was killed in Licking County (learn more in OAA’s Wildlife Protection Resources and Reading Room).  Use the OAA Action Alert to tell Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act and stop the interstate transport of exotic cats.
  • 04/08/2020: Department of Justice has a short-turn Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance Grant to assist domestic violence shelters and transitional housing services for domestic violence victims and their companion animals (includes horses). Applications due 05/29/2020. See details on our new page for organizations which offer a variety of grants and resources to help individuals, animal shelters/rescues, and domestic violence victims/pets.