COLUMBUS—State Representative Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) recently introduced legislation that would designate a shelter pet as Ohio’s official state pet.

House Bill 319 is an effort to raise awareness for shelter animals. Each year, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide, of which 1.5 million are euthanized. In Ohio, 70 percent of dogs in shelters are adopted, with the remaining 30 percent being euthanized. This statistic is as high as 58 percent in some counties.

"I've seen firsthand too many dejected and distressed dogs languishing in shelters to not want to do something to help,” said Rep. Lanese. “We adopted our two dogs, Charlie and Jackson, from an animal shelter eight years ago. I hope this legislation will not only shine a spotlight on animal shelters, but also show the state's support and appreciation for the shelter workers and volunteers and the rescue groups trying to save these companion animals, as well as for those who take on the responsibilities and joys of owning a shelter pet.”

The bill now awaits an appropriate committee designation.

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