Thirty-seven U.S. states have animal cruelty laws that result in felony convictions. My own state of Ohio does not. What does that tell us about the mentality of humans in the Buckeye State? Well, if the riots I heard about at OSU are any indication – all over a bunch of large men wrestling, grabbing and grinding each other over a football – then the future is bleak.

There are two identical bills in the Ohio legislature right now that would increase the penalties for animal cruelty, House Bill 480 and Senate Bill 221. S.B. 221 passed on December 10, 2002 and is awaiting the signature of Governor Bob “Serial Killer” Taft. I hope a man with so much human blood on his hands will find some compassion for innocent animals. It seems a passive-sounding group “The Ohio Association of Animal Owners” is putting up quite a fight against animal protection legislation in Ohio -- battling the “animal rights terrorists ,” as it were. Contact your state reps and senators and ask them to support the two bills.

Humans in other states in our nation don’t seem to be as paranoid about being charged with animal abuse. Here’s the rundown on victories for animals in the November 2002 elections:

Arizona: defeated a proposition that would have expanded gambling at the greyhound tracks – a sport that routinely mistreats and kills dogs.

California: passed a bill that requires county child services employees to receive instruction on identifying animal abuse, as animal abuse often leads to and accompanies child abuse.

Colorado, District of Colombia, Nebraska and Tennessee: added felony convictions for animal abuse cases.

Florida: passed a initiative to ban cruel “gestation crates” used on pig farms to confine pregnant mommies.

Georgia: created a special “spay/neuter” license plate for sale to subsidize low-cost animal sterilization programs.

Hawaii: made it a felony to intentionally injure or kill a guide dog, signal dog or service animal.

Illinois: made it a crime to knowingly create, sell or possess a depiction of animal cruelty.

Oklahoma: banned the “sport” of cockfighting and rejected a bill that would have doubled the number of signatures needed to introduce animal protection initiatives on the ballot.