New law proposed after dog mutilation case

The public outcry after a local teen mutilated a dead dog but faced no charges is leading an Ohio lawmaker to take action.

State Rep. Tom Young, R-Miamisburg, is introducing legislation to establish a penalty for the mutilation of a deceased animal. That follows a video disseminated via social media in August of a Miamisburg student stabbing a dog that was struck and killed by a vehicle. The teen then threw the corpse into a Dumpster.

“This unsettling incident was not a crime per the Ohio Revised Code, which is what this legislation I am proposing seeks to correct,” Young said during a press conference Wednesday morning. “In my legislation, no person except when authorized by law, shall knowingly treat a companion animal corpse in a way that would outrage reasonable community sensibilities.”

Unlike stabbing a human corpse, which would be a chargeable offense under Ohio law as abuse of a corpse, there is no chargeable offense under Ohio law for mutilating a deceased companion animal.

Under the proposed law, anyone found guilty or pleading guilty to such an act would be charged with a fifth-degree felony, and the court would require that the offender undergo psychological evaluation and counseling, Young said.

“We need to make sure events like this do not continue to happen and when they do, those individuals involved receive help to prevent them from going down these dark paths,” he said.

Young said that 62% of Ohio households own a pet. He said he will look for co-sponsors for the legislation in the coming days, adding he plans to introduce it soon.

Young said the Miamisburg Police Department did “an incredible job and their best within the parameters they had since there was no law that they can use against the individuals who perpetrated this crime.”

Sgt. Jeff Muncy of the Miamisburg Police Department thanked Young for putting the bill together.

“While what happened in Miamisburg was both horrific and disturbing, to say the least, now we’ll at least be able to have a crime we can charge somebody for because, when we investigated I was aware we didn’t have a crime that we could charge,” Muncy said. “And that was certainly very frustrating not only for the police department, but for the community in general.

Young said he has received “absolutely no pushback” from the community in pursuing the legislation.