Lassie’s Law: Ohio Legislation Aims to Provide Closure for Pet Owners When Pets are Killed on Roadways

A recently introduced Ohio House bill, House Bill 379, known as Lassie’s Law, aims to provide closure to pet owners by requiring road workers to identify pets found dead on roadways. This legislation, sponsored by State Representatives Sara Carruthers and Brian Lorenz, requires road service employers to equip their workers with scanners to check for identifying microchips in deceased dogs and cats.

Representative Carruthers, a dog lover herself, emphasized the importance of closure for families who have lost their pets, highlighting the emotional significance of such a provision. The bill mandates that if a microchip is detected, the pet owner’s contact information must be relayed to the appropriate authority for notification. This process would allow pet owners to retrieve their pet’s remains within 24 hours before disposal, ensuring a respectful handling of the situation.

The cost implications of implementing this law have been considered, with estimates suggesting that the purchase of scanners could range from $30 to $300 per device. While this may represent a financial investment for road service employers, it is deemed necessary to fulfill the objectives of the legislation. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the storage and disposal of pet remains in a sanitary manner, which may entail further costs.

Given Ohio’s status as a home rule state, there are legal considerations regarding the applicability of this law to municipal corporations and chartered counties. The legislation aims to establish a uniform standard for pet identification and notification procedures statewide, ensuring consistency in the treatment of deceased pets regardless of jurisdiction.

House Bill 379 is currently under review by the House Transportation Committee, where additional hearings are expected to address any logistical or legal concerns. As the bill progresses through the legislative process, it seeks to uphold the principle of providing closure and compassion to pet owners facing the loss of their beloved companions.

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