(Cleveland) - State Rep. Bill Patmon of Cleveland is joining force with legendary Fox 8 weatherman Dick Goddard in an effort to raise the penalty for animal abuse.

Patmon tells Newsradio WTAM 1100, he is sponsoring a bill that makes knowingly injuring or killing a companion animal or depriving it of food, water or shelter, a fifth-degree felony punishable by six months to a year in jail.

Patmon says his legislation is being called Dick Goddard’s Act, for the long time meteorologist who is known far and wide as an advocate for pets.

Patmon says Ohio's animal cruelty laws are among the most lax in the nation.

Previous efforts to raise penalties failed because of opposition from farmers, but Patmon claims his bill takes agricultural interests under consideration.

His measure exempts livestock, and applies only to animals kept inside a home or pet store.

Patmon contends most cases of animal cruelty happen in Ohio's urban areas, and that such offenses often later leads to the abuse of humans.

Dick Goddard

Goddard tells Newsradio WTAM 1100 that he's more than willing to testify before the state legislature if that's what it takes to get the bill passed.

Goddard says he is troubled by the increasing number of animal abuse cases in the news including several recent ones in Lorain County.

In North Ridgeville, a humane officer shot and killed 5 kittens creating a firestorm. A Lorain man is charged with stabbing a border collie to death, and is to be in court Monday. In Amherst, a man has pleaded no contest to stabbing a shepherd-mix to death and is to be sentenced in July 18th.

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