Make Bestiality and Cockfighting a Crime throughout Ohio

OAA MISSION AREA:  Community Compassion

ACTION LEVEL: State

In 2016, Ohio passed laws making bestiality a misdemeanor and cockfighting a felony.  Unfortunately, a legislative mistake and a court’s decision led to bestiality remaining legal in eight Northern Ohio counties (Erie, Fulton, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams, and Wood), and cockfighting remaining a misdemeanor. 

Not only is bestiality abhorrent and cruel, it is also a red flag for the likelihood of sexual violence against individuals.  Both acts involve pain, coercion, and lack of consent.   

Likewise, cockfighting is a brutal practice that means certain death for the birds. It is also closely connected to other crimes such as illegal gambling, illegal drug and weapon distribution, acts of violence.  

Ohio needs to reinstate the 2016 laws against bestiality and cockfighting statewide by passing H.B. 350.

What Can You Do

The Ohio House of Representative will re-start committee hearings and floor sessions in May.  Please call your State Representative (____) and send an email, letter or postcard to their office urging them to support passing H.B. 350 out of the House Criminal Justice Committee and out of the full House.  Share this Action Alert on your social media to raise awareness, educate, and encourage others to take action.  

Take Action

Dear Representative _______ ,

As your constituent, I am urging you to support H.B. 350, which would make sexual activity with animals a second-degree misdemeanor and animal fighting a felony statewide.  

These penalties are already in place in a majority of the state; however, a court’s decision resulted in bestiality remaining legal in eight northern Ohio counties (Erie, Fulton, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams, and Wood), and cockfighting remaining a misdemeanor.

Not only is bestiality abhorrent and cruel, often resulting in serious injury or the death of the animal, it is also a red flag for the likelihood of violence against individuals because of its resemblance to human sexual assault in that it involves pain, coercion and lack of consent.  Moreover, offenders have more in common with pedophiles and rapists than with animal abusers; and there is a strong relationship to interpersonal violence.  

Likewise, not only is cockfighting brutal, it also means certain death for the birds. It is also closely connected to other crimes such as gambling, illegal drugs, weapon distribution, acts of violence, and other gang activity.  Law enforcement officials in many states find that busting an animal fighting operation is worth their time and effort because they may find offenders who are committing other violations while at the fights or who are already wanted for other crimes.  Unfortunately, cockfighting is frequently a family affair putting young children at risk to desensitization to violence toward both animals and people.

In summary I ask you to support and HB 350 which would make bestiality and cockfighting crimes statewide.  Thank you for your consideration of this issue.

Sincerely,

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Your mailing address
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CONTACTS FOR ACTION:  Find contact info for your Ohio House Representative here.  (See the “Member Search” options.) If mailing via USPS, address the envelope to “Representative ______” at the indicated address.