Citizen's Efforts Lead To New Service Animal Protections
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 27, 2004
MOUNT VERNON, OHIO--Here's a story about how one citizen can make a difference.
Friday's Mount Vernon News reported on the new law passed this week that gives special protections to service animals in Ohio.
Signed into law Thursday by Governor Bob Taft, House Bill 369 makes it a crime to harass, harm, steal or interfere with a service animal. Criminal charges can be filed against people who act recklessly or maliciously toward such animals, or fail to keep their own dogs from doing the same.
The paper pointed out that the issue never would have come before lawmakers had it not been for the advocacy of Mount Vernon resident Patty Yarman.
Legally blind since she was a teenager, Yarman now has a Labrador named Roosevelt who is her guide dog.
When she learned that service and guide animals like Roosevelt were being attacked by other dogs, and that there was no law to protect them, she decided to take action.
Yarman decided to bring the problem to the attention of her local state representative, Thom Collier, who lived just a few houses away.
After being educated by Yarman, Collier sponsored HB 369.
Yarman said that the process went smoothly -- much more smoothly than in other states.
"Taft signs bill initiated by local resident"
Amended Substitute House Bill Number 369 (Ohio 125th General Assembly)