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The Legislative Service Commission staff updates the Revised Code on an ongoing basis, as it completes its act review of enacted legislation. Updates may be slower during some times of the year, depending on the volume of enacted legislation.

Chapter 1717 | Humane Societies

 
 
 
Section
Section 1717.01 | Humane society definitions.
 

As used in sections 1717.01 to 1717.18 of the Revised Code, and in every law relating to animals:

(A) "Animal" includes every living dumb creature;

(B) "Cruelty," "torment," and "torture" include every act, omission, or neglect by which unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue, when there is a reasonable remedy or relief;

(C) "Owner" and "person" include corporations. For the purpose of this section the knowledge and acts of the agents and employees of a corporation, in regard to animals transported, owned, or employed by, or in the custody of, such agents and employees, are the knowledge and acts of the corporation.

Section 1717.02 | Objects and powers of humane societies.
 

The objects of all societies organized under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code shall be the inculcation of humane principles and the enforcement of laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals. To promote those objects such societies may acquire property, real or personal, by purchase or gift. All property acquired by such a society, by gift, devise, or bequest, for special purposes, shall be vested in its board of trustees, which shall consist of three members elected by the society. The board shall manage such property and apply it in accordance with the terms of the gift, devise, or bequest, and may sell it and reinvest the proceeds.

Section 1717.05 | County humane societies.
 

(A) A county humane society for the prevention of acts of cruelty to animals may be organized in any county by the association of not less than seven persons.

(B) The members of a county humane society, at a meeting called for the purpose, shall elect not less than three of their members as its board of directors, and such directors continue in office until their successors are duly chosen.

(C) The secretary or clerk of the meeting shall make a true record of the proceedings thereat and certify and forward the record to the secretary of state, who shall record it. The record must contain the name by which the association is to be known. On and after its filing with the secretary of state, the board of directors and the associates and their successors, have the powers, privileges, and immunities incident to incorporated companies. A copy of the record, certified by the secretary of state, must be taken in all courts and places in this state as evidence that the county humane society is a duly organized and incorporated body.

(D) A county humane society may elect officers, and make rules, regulations, and bylaws, as are deemed expedient by its members for its own government and the proper management of its affairs.

(E) A humane society that organized as a branch of the Ohio humane society prior to the effective date of this amendment shall continue to have the same powers and duties that were authorized on March 1, 2019. Such a humane society is considered to be a county humane society organized under this section for purposes of this chapter and any other laws regarding county humane societies.

Section 1717.06 | Agents of county humane society.
 

(A) A county humane society organized under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code may appoint humane society agents for the purpose of prosecuting any person guilty of an act of cruelty to animals. Such agents may arrest any person found violating this chapter or any other law for protecting animals or preventing acts of cruelty thereto. Upon making an arrest, the humane society agent shall convey the person arrested before a court or magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense, and there make complaint against the person on oath or affirmation of the offense.

(B) A humane society agent that was appointed prior to the effective date of this amendment by a branch of the Ohio humane society is considered to be a humane society agent appointed under this section for purposes of this chapter and any other laws regarding humane society agents.

(C)(1) The appointment of an agent under this section is subject to the requirements of section 1717.061 of the Revised Code, and is not final until the appointment has been approved under division (C)(2) of this section.

(2) The appointment of an agent under this section does not take effect unless it has been approved by the mayor of the municipal corporation for which it is made. If the society operates outside a municipal corporation, the appointment does not take effect until it has been approved by the probate judge of the county for which it is made. The mayor or probate judge shall keep a record of the appointments and shall maintain as a public record a copy of the proof of successful completion of training for each humane society agent acting within the approving authority's jurisdiction.

(D) The approving authority shall notify the appropriate county sheriff and the board of county commissioners when the appointment of a humane society agent has been approved and, not later than two business days after the appointment has been approved, shall file a copy of the proof of successful completion of training with the sheriff. The county sheriff shall maintain as a public record a copy of the proof for each humane society agent that is operating in the county.

(E) A humane society shall notify the county sheriff and the approving authority when all approved humane society agents have ceased to perform the duties of the appointment and there are no humane society agents operating in the county.

(F) A humane society agent only has the specific authority granted to the agent under the Revised Code.

Section 1717.061 | Qualifications for appointment as qualified humane society agent.
 

In order to qualify for appointment as a humane society agent under section 1717.06 of the Revised Code, an individual shall do both of the following:

(A) Successfully complete a minimum of twenty hours of training on issues relating to the investigation and prosecution of cruelty to and neglect of animals. The training shall comply with rules recommended by the peace officer training commission under section 109.73 of the Revised Code and shall include, without limitation, instruction regarding animal husbandry practices as described in division (A)(12) of that section.

(B) Present proof of successful completion of training, that has been signed by the chief executive officer of the organization or entity that provided the training, or the officer's designee, to the current active approving authority for approval.

Section 1717.062 | Revocation of humane society agent appointment based on qualifications.
 

(A) An individual who has reasonable cause to believe that a humane society agent has not successfully completed the training that is required under section 1717.061 of the Revised Code or who has reasonable cause to believe that an agent's proof of successful completion of training contains false or misleading information may file a complaint, in the form of a affidavit sworn to by the individual, with the current acting authority that is responsible for considering approval of agent appointments within the jurisdiction. The authority shall notify the agent's humane society, and shall investigate the complaint.

(B) If the authority finds that the agent has not provided signed proof of successful completion of training as required under section 1717.061 of the Revised Code, the authority shall provide written notification to the agent's humane society to inform the society that the agent has a right to cure period of thirty days from the date of the notification. If the agent has not provided signed proof by the end of the right to cure period, the authority shall rescind the approval of the appointment and order the applicable humane society to revoke the appointment.

(C) If the authority finds that the agent knowingly provided proof of successful completion of training that contains false or misleading information, the authority shall rescind the approval of the appointment and order the applicable humane society to revoke the appointment.

(D) The applicable humane society shall file written notice with the county sheriff of the revocation under this section of a humane society agent's appointment.

Section 1717.07 | Salary of agents.
 

Upon the approval by the mayor of a municipal corporation of the appointment of an agent under section 1717.06 of the Revised Code, the legislative authority of such municipal corporation shall pay monthly to such agent, from the general revenue fund of the municipal corporation, the salary that the legislative authority considers just and reasonable. Upon the approval by the probate judge of a county of such an appointment, the board of county commissioners of the county shall pay monthly to the agent, from the general fund of the county, or from the dog and kennel fund of the county, the salary that the board considers just and reasonable. Such board and such legislative authority may agree upon the amount each is to pay the agent monthly. The salary to be paid monthly to the agent by the legislative authority of a village shall be not less than twenty-five dollars; by the legislative authority of a city, not less than one hundred twenty-five dollars; and by the board of county commissioners of a county, not less than one hundred fifty dollars. Beginning January 1, 2020, and on the first day of January every five years thereafter, these minimum salary amounts shall increase by five dollars. Not more than one such agent in each county shall receive remuneration from the board under this section.

Section 1717.08 | Police powers of officers, agents, and members.
 

An officer, agent, or member of a county humane society may interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty to animals in the officer's, agent's, or member's presence, may use such force as is necessary to prevent it, and to that end may summon to the officer's, agent's, or member's aid any bystanders.

Section 1717.09 | Member may require police to act.
 

A member of a county humane society may require the sheriff of any county, the constable of any township, the marshal or a police officer of any municipal corporation, or any agent of such a society, to arrest any person found violating the laws in relation to cruelty to animals, and to take possession of any animal cruelly treated in their respective counties or municipal corporations, and deliver such animal to the proper officers of the society.

Section 1717.10 | Fees.
 

For all services rendered in carrying out sections 1717.01 to1717.18 of the Revised Code, a sheriff, constable, marshal, or police officer shall be paid such fees as the sheriff, constable, marshal, or police officer is allowed for like services in other cases. Such fees must be charged as costs, and reimbursed to the humane society by the person convicted.

Section 1717.11 | Liability to owner in damages.
 

A person guilty of cruelty to an animal which is the property of another shall be liable to the owner of the animal in damages, in addition to the penalties prescribed by law.

Section 1717.12 | Conviction of agent no bar to action against employer.
 

The conviction of an agent or employee of cruelty to animals does not bar an action for cruelty to animals against his employer for allowing a state of facts to exist which will induce cruelty to animals on the part of such agent or employee.

Section 1717.13 | Any person may protect animal.
 

When, in order to protect any animal from neglect, it is necessary to take possession of it, any person may do so. When an animal is impounded or confined, and continues without necessary food, water, or proper attention for more than fifteen successive hours, any person may, as often as is necessary, enter any place in which the animal is impounded or confined and supply it with necessary food, water, and attention, so long as it remains there, or, if necessary or convenient, he may remove such animal; and he shall not be liable to an action for such entry. In all cases the owner or custodian of such animal, if known to such person, immediately shall be notified by him of such action. If the owner or custodian is unknown to such person, and cannot with reasonable effort be ascertained by him, such animal shall be considered an estray and dealt with as such.

The necessary expenses for food and attention given to an animal under this section may be collected from the owner of such animal, and the animal shall not be exempt from levy and sale upon execution issued upon a judgment for such expenses.

Section 1717.15 | Board of county commissioners may make yearly appropriation.
 

The board of county commissioners may, at the end of each year, make a yearly appropriation to the county humane society from the general fund of the county of such funds as the board deems reasonable. Such funds are to supplement any gifts, funds received from the dog and kennel fund, and any other funds received by the society and are to be used to carry out the activities of the society.

Section 1717.16 | Enforcement activity reports.
 

(A) Annually, a county humane society shall submit enforcement activity reports to the county sheriff.

(B) Records of an enforcement activity by a humane society agent are public records under section 149.43 of the Revised Code, except that any such records that are confidential law enforcement investigatory records, as defined in division (A)(2) of section 149.43 of the Revised Code, are not public records.

Section 1717.17 | Humane society agent removal from office for just cause.
 

(A) A probate judge of a county in which a humane society agent operates may revoke the approval of an appointment for just cause, under the procedure established in division (B) of this section.

(B)(1) A movant may commence the procedure by filing with the probate court a motion to revoke the appointment, in the form of an affidavit sworn to by the movant, describing the conduct that constitutes just cause for the motion. The probate judge, upon a review of the facts, may dismiss the motion without a hearing, or shall direct the clerk of the probate court to serve the humane society agent and the humane society with a summons and a copy of the motion and any accompanying memorandum in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure. The summons must state the time and place at which the probate court will conduct a hearing on the motion.

(2) The humane society agent may waive the right to a hearing. If the humane society agent waives the right to a hearing, the probate judge shall revoke the humane society agent's approval of appointment as prayed for in the motion. If the humane society agent does not waive the right to a hearing, the probate judge shall conduct a hearing on the motion.

(3) The humane society agent is entitled to the assistance of counsel at the hearing. The Rules of Evidence govern conduct of the hearing. At the hearing, the movant has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that just cause exists for the revocation of the humane society agent's appointment.

(4) If, after the hearing, the probate judge finds that the movant has not sustained the burden of proof, the probate judge shall deny the motion. If, after the hearing, the probate judge finds that the movant has sustained the burden of proof, the probate judge shall grant the motion and revoke the humane society agent's approval of appointment.

Section 1717.18 | Nonprosecution agreements.
 

(A) A humane society may not enter into a written agreement with a person, wherein the humane society agrees not to prosecute the person for an alleged violation of law, unless the proposed agreement has been reviewed and approved by the judge that has presided over the hearing that is required to determine if the officer had probable cause to seize the animal, and which is related to the case that is the subject of the agreement. As part of the review, if bond has previously been set, the judge shall reconsider whether or not the amount of the bond determined by the court to be needed for the animal's care is necessary and reasonable. A judge shall not approve a nonprosecution agreement that requires a person to provide financial compensation that is in excess of what is necessary and reasonable for the animal's care for the duration of the impoundment.

(B) A nonprosecution agreement between a humane society and a person, as described in division (A) of this section, is void and unenforceable unless it has been approved under division (A) of this section.