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Ohio Senate panel OKs vicious dog bill in honor of Klonda Richey

A bill to toughen Ohio’s vicious dog laws — two years after the death of a Dayton woman — is a step closer to becoming law.

The bill passed the Agriculture Committee unanimously on Wednesday

Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, introduced the Klonda Richey Act last year. In February 2014, Richey was killed when two dogs owned by a neighboring couple attacked her outside her Dayton home.

“The Senate Agriculture committee approval of the Klonda Richey Act in encouraging news for many Ohioans who live in fear of dangerous animals in their neighborhoods,” Beagle said. “The Klonda Richey Act aims to hold owners of dangerous dogs accountable by including penalties for offenders and tools for local officials who deal with problem pet owners. I am hopeful that this legislation will receive favorable support on the floor of the Ohio Senate.”

Andrew Nason, 30, and Julie Custer, 27, were sentenced in May 2015 in Dayton Municipal Court a couple weeks after both pleaded no contest and were each found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of failure to control dogs.

RELATED: Couple in fatal dog mauling case sentenced

The bill had its fourth hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. It could have its fifth hearing and a possible committee vote on Wednesday.

If passed, the bill would:

* Changing the definition of a vicious dog from a dog who causes serious injury to a person to a dog that has killed a person.

* Requiring a court to order the humane destruction of a vicious dog or a dog that has killed a person, but has not been determined to be a vicious dog.

* The addition of child endangerment to the list of offenses that can prevent a person from owning certain types of dogs.

* Clarifying that “dog wardens” have the authority to make arrests.

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