COLUMBUS, Ohio — State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) has announced the passage of House Bill 552, legislation that makes changes to Ohio law related to companion animals.

House Bill 552 would allow dog wardens to use a tranquilizer gun to capture animals without having a veterinarian present. Safeguards are included in the legislation that require certified officers to obtain a classification from the State Board of Pharmacy prior to practicing chemical capture outside of the direct supervision of a veterinarian.

The bill would also prohibit animal shelters from using gas chambers to euthanize domestic animals, a practice not commonly used but is still in pace in a small number of facilities.

“I’ve always thought it was important to protect animals” Edwards Said. “This bill will ensure that animals are treated more humanely. The fact that we are in living in 2018 and still using gas chambers to kill animals absolutely disgusts me. I am very happy this bill will change these gruesome practices.”

Under the bill, the mandate for dog wardens to sell unclaimed dogs to teaching or research institutions would be eliminated. Currently, after a three-day impound period, a dog seized by the county dog warden must be turned over to research or teaching facilities for $3.00, if such facilities request the dog. By eliminating this mandate, the county dog warden has the option to sell such dogs to research and teaching facilities, but is no longer obligated to do so. Additionally, the dog warden may set the fee at which they turn over these dogs.

This legislation would allow dog wardens to perform their duties more safety, efficiently, and humanely, as well as ensure animals are euthanized in an ethical and compassionate manner.

House Bill 552 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.