The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board has proposed civil penalty provisions for violations of the livestock care standards currently under development by the Board. The proposal addresses notification procedures for the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), the agency responsible for enforcing the standards, and establishes two types of violations of the livestock care standards: minor violations and major violations.
A minor violation is one which violates the standards due to neglect or unintentional acts of substandard practices, but which does not place an animal’s life in imminent peril or cause protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a limb or bodily function. For a minor violation, the ODA may fine the offender up to $500 for a first offense and up to $1,000 for a subsequent offense committed within 60 days of a previous offense.
A major violation is one which does place an animal’s life in imminent peril or cause protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a limb or bodily function, or a violation that results in unjustifiable infliction of pain due to reckless or intentional acts. The ODA may issue a penalty between $1,000 and $5,000 for a first major violation and between $5,000 and $10,000 for repeat violations committed within 60 days of a prior offense. For major violations, the department may assist with the provision of care services for the animals and may assess the violator for the costs of providing proper care to the animals.
For both minor and major violations, the department may also seek recovery costs for investigations that result in penalties, including salary costs for employees directly involved in the investigation. The rule also states that a violation affecting more than one animal may be considered one offense of the standards.
The Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture has posted the proposed civil penalty provisions for public comment on ODA’s website. The comment period runs until November 2.