130th Ohio General Assembly
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(123rd General Assembly)
(Substitute House Bill Number 701)



AN ACT
To amend sections 301.28, 955.07, 955.14, 955.20, 955.261, and 2921.321 and to enact section 955.013 of the Revised Code to authorize county auditors to allow for the registration of dogs and kennels via the Internet and to accept the payment of dog and kennel registration fees by financial transaction devices; to provide for the retention of dog and kennel registration records only until a county audit is performed by the Auditor of State or for a period of two years, whichever is later; to exempt certain police dogs from the requirement of a quarantine period after biting a person; and to create the offense of harassing a police dog or horse.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1 .  That sections 301.28, 955.07, 955.14, 955.20, 955.261, and 2921.321 be amended and section 955.013 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:

Sec. 301.28.  (A) As used in this section:

(1) "Financial transaction device" includes a credit card, debit card, charge card, or prepaid or stored value card.

(2) "County expenses" includes fees, costs, taxes, assessments, fines, penalties, payments, or any other expense a person owes to a county office under the authority of a county elected official other than dog registration and kennel fees required to be paid under Chapter 955. of the Revised Code.

(3) "County elected official" includes the county auditor, county treasurer, county engineer, county recorder, county prosecuting attorney, county sheriff, and county coroner, and the clerk of the court of common pleas, the clerk of a county-operated municipal court, and the clerk of a county court.

(B) Notwithstanding any other section of the Revised Code and except as provided in division (D) of this section, a board of county commissioners may adopt a resolution authorizing the acceptance of payments by financial transaction devices for county expenses. The resolution shall include the following:

(1) A specification of those county elected officials who are authorized to accept payments by financial transaction devices;

(2) A list of county expenses that may be paid for through the use of a financial transaction device;

(3) Specific identification of financial transaction devices that the board authorizes as acceptable means of payment for county expenses. Uniform acceptance of financial transaction devices among different types of county expenses is not required.

(4) The amount, if any, authorized as a surcharge or convenience fee under division (E) of this section for persons using a financial transaction device. Uniform application of surcharges or convenience fees among different types of county expenses is not required.

(5) A specific provision as provided in division (G) of this section requiring the payment of a penalty if a payment made by means of a financial transaction device is returned or dishonored for any reason.

The board's resolution shall also designate the county treasurer as an administrative agent to solicit proposals, within guidelines established by the board in the resolution and in compliance with the procedures provided in division (C) of this section, from financial institutions, issuers of financial transaction devices, and processors of financial transaction devices, to make recommendations about those proposals to the board, and to assist county offices in implementing the county's financial transaction devices program. The county treasurer may decline this responsibility within thirty days after receiving a copy of the board's resolution by notifying the board in writing within that period. If the treasurer so notifies the board, the board shall perform the duties of the administrative agent.

If the county treasurer is the administrative agent and fails to administer the county financial transaction devices program in accordance with the guidelines in the board's resolution, the board shall notify the treasurer in writing of the board's findings, explain the failures, and give the treasurer six months to correct the failures. If the treasurer fails to make the appropriate corrections within that six-month period, the board may pass a resolution declaring the board to be the administrative agent. The board may later rescind that resolution at its discretion.

(C) The county shall follow the procedures provided in this division whenever it plans to contract with financial institutions, issuers of financial transaction devices, or processors of financial transaction devices for the purposes of this section. The administrative agent shall request proposals from at least three financial institutions, issuers of financial transaction devices, or processors of financial transaction devices, as appropriate in accordance with the resolution adopted under division (B) of this section. Prior to sending any financial institution, issuer, or processor a copy of any such request, the county shall advertise its intent to request proposals in a newspaper of general circulation in the county once a week for two consecutive weeks. The notice shall state that the county intends to request proposals; specify the purpose of the request; indicate the date, which shall be at least ten days after the second publication, on which the request for proposals will be mailed to financial institutions, issuers, or processors; and require that any financial institution, issuer, or processor, whichever is appropriate, interested in receiving the request for proposals submit written notice of this interest to the county not later than noon of the day on which the request for proposals will be mailed.

Upon receiving the proposals, the administrative agent shall review them and make a recommendation to the board of county commissioners on which proposals to accept. The board of county commissioners shall consider the agent's recommendation and review all proposals submitted, and then may choose to contract with any or all of the entities submitting proposals, as appropriate. The board shall provide any financial institution, issuer, or processor that submitted a proposal, but with which the board does not enter into a contract, notice that its proposal is rejected. The notice shall state the reasons for the rejection, indicate whose proposals were accepted, and provide a copy of the terms and conditions of the successful bids.

(D) A board of county commissioners adopting a resolution under this section shall send a copy of the resolution to each county elected official in the county who is authorized by the resolution to accept payments by financial transaction devices. After receiving the resolution and before accepting payments by financial transaction devices, a county elected official shall provide written notification to the board of county commissioners of the official's intent to implement the resolution within the official's office. Each county office subject to the board's resolution adopted under division (B) of this section may use only the financial institutions, issuers of financial transaction devices, and processors of financial transaction devices with which the board of county commissioners contracts, and each such office is subject to the terms of those contracts.

If a county office under the authority of a county elected official is directly responsible for collecting one or more county expenses and the county elected official determines not to accept payments by financial transaction devices for one or more of those expenses, the office shall not be required to accept payments by financial transaction devices, notwithstanding the adoption of a resolution by the board of county commissioners under this section.

Any office of a clerk of the court of common pleas that accepts financial transaction devices on or before July 1, 1999, and any other county office that accepted such devices before January 1, 1998, may continue to accept such devices without being subject to any resolution passed by the board of county commissioners under division (B) of this section, or any other oversight by the board of the office's financial transaction devices program. Any such office may use surcharges or convenience fees in any manner the county elected official in charge of the office determines to be appropriate, and, if the county treasurer consents, may appoint the county treasurer to be the office's administrative agent for purposes of accepting financial transaction devices. In order not to be subject to the resolution of the board of county commissioners adopted under division (B) of this section, a county office shall notify the board in writing within thirty days after the effective date of this section March 30, 1999, that it accepted financial transaction devices prior to January 1, 1998, or, in the case of the office of a clerk of the court of common pleas, the clerk has accepted or will accept such devices on or before July 1, 1999. Each such notification shall explain how processing costs associated with financial transaction devices are being paid and shall indicate whether surcharge or convenience fees are being passed on to consumers.

(E) A board of county commissioners may establish a surcharge or convenience fee that may be imposed upon a person making payment by a financial transaction device. The surcharge or convenience fee shall not be imposed unless authorized or otherwise permitted by the rules prescribed by an agreement governing the use and acceptance of the financial transaction device.

If a surcharge or convenience fee is imposed, every county office accepting payment by a financial transaction device, regardless of whether that office is subject to a resolution adopted by a board of county commissioners, shall clearly post a notice in that office and shall notify each person making a payment by such a device about the surcharge or fee. Notice to each person making a payment shall be provided regardless of the medium used to make the payment and in a manner appropriate to that medium. Each notice shall include all of the following:

(1) A statement that there is a surcharge or convenience fee for using a financial transaction device;

(2) The total amount of the charge or fee expressed in dollars and cents for each transaction, or the rate of the charge or fee expressed as a percentage of the total amount of the transaction, whichever is applicable;

(3) A clear statement that the surcharge or convenience fee is nonrefundable.

(F) If a person elects to make a payment to the county by a financial transaction device and a surcharge or convenience fee is imposed, the payment of the surcharge or fee shall be considered voluntary and the surcharge or fee is not refundable.

(G) If a person makes payment by financial transaction device and the payment is returned or dishonored for any reason, the person is liable to the county for payment of a penalty over and above the amount of the expense due. The board of county commissioners shall determine the amount of the penalty, which may be either a fee not to exceed twenty dollars or payment of the amount necessary to reimburse the county for banking charges, legal fees, or other expenses incurred by the county in collecting the returned or dishonored payment. The remedies and procedures provided in this section are in addition to any other available civil or criminal remedies provided by law.

(H) No person making any payment by financial transaction device to a county office shall be relieved from liability for the underlying obligation except to the extent that the county realizes final payment of the underlying obligation in cash or its equivalent. If final payment is not made by the financial transaction device issuer or other guarantor of payment in the transaction, the underlying obligation shall survive and the county shall retain all remedies for enforcement that would have applied if the transaction had not occurred.

(I) A county elected official or employee who accepts a financial transaction device payment in accordance with this section and any applicable state or local policies or rules is immune from personal liability for the final collection of such payments.

Sec. 955.013.  (A) As used in this section:

(1) "Financial transaction device" has the same meaning as in section 301.28 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Internet" means the international computer network of both federal and nonfederal interoperable packet switched data networks, including the graphical subnetwork called the world wide web.

(B) A county auditor may establish procedures and take actions that are necessary to allow for either or both of the following:

(1) The registration of dogs and kennels under this chapter via the internet;

(2) The payment of dog and kennel registration fees under this chapter by financial transaction devices, including payment by financial transaction devices via the internet.

Sec. 955.07.  Upon the filing of the application for registration required by sections 955.01 and 955.04 of the Revised Code and upon the payment of the registration fee and the administrative fee, if applicable, the county auditor shall assign a distinctive number to every dog or dog kennel described in such the application, and shall deliver a certificate of registration bearing such the number to the owner thereof of the dog or dog kennel. A permanent record of all certificates of registration issued, together with the applications therefor for registration, shall be kept by such the auditor in a dog and kennel register, which for two years or until after an audit performed by the auditor of state, whichever is later. This record shall be open to the inspection of any person during reasonable business hours.

Sec. 955.14.  (A) Notwithstanding section 955.01 of the Revised Code, a board of county commissioners by resolution may increase dog and kennel registration fees in the county. The amount of the fees shall not exceed an amount that the board, in its discretion, estimates is needed to pay all expenses for the administration of this chapter and to pay claims allowed for animals, fowl, or poultry injured or destroyed by dogs. Such a resolution shall be adopted not earlier than the first day of February and not later than the thirty-first day of August of any year and shall apply to the registration period commencing on the first day of December of the current year and ending on the thirty-first day of January of the following year, unless the period is extended under section 955.01 of the Revised Code. Any increase in fees adopted under this division shall be in the ratio of two dollars for a dog registration fee and ten dollars for a kennel registration fee.

(B) Not later than the fifteenth day of October of each year, the board of county commissioners shall determine if there is sufficient money in the dog and kennel fund, after paying the expenses of administration incurred or estimated to be incurred for the remainder of the year, to pay the claims allowed for animals, fowl, or poultry injured or destroyed by dogs. If the board determines there is not sufficient money in the dog and kennel fund to pay the claims allowed, the board shall provide by resolution that all claims remaining unpaid shall be paid from the general fund of the county. All money paid out of the general fund for such those purposes may be replaced by the board from the dog and kennel fund at any time during the following year notwithstanding section 5705.14 of the Revised Code.

(C) Notwithstanding section 955.20 of the Revised Code, if dog and kennel registration fees in any county are increased above two and ten dollars, respectively, under authority of division (A) of this section, then on or before the first day of March following each year in which the increased fees are in effect, the county auditor shall draw on the dog and kennel fund a warrant payable to the college of veterinary medicine of the Ohio state university in an amount equal to ten cents for each dog and kennel registration fee received during the preceding year. The money received by the college of veterinary medicine of the Ohio state university under this division shall be applied for research and study of the diseases of dogs, particularly those transmittable to humans, and for research of other diseases of dogs that by their nature will provide results applicable to the prevention and treatment of both human and canine illness.

(D) The Ohio state university college of veterinary medicine shall be responsible to report annually to the general assembly the progress of the research and study authorized and funded by division (C) of this section. The report shall briefly describe the research projects undertaken and assess the value of each. The report shall account for funds received pursuant to division (C) of this section and for the funds expended attributable to each research project and for other necessary expenses in conjunction with the research authorized by division (C) of this section. The report shall be filed with the general assembly by the first day of May of each year.

(E) The county auditor may authorize agents to receive applications for registration of dogs and kennels and to issue certificates of registration and tags. If authorized agents are employed in a county, each applicant for a dog or kennel registration shall pay to the agent an administrative fee of seventy-five cents in addition to the registration fee. The administrative fee shall be the compensation of the agent. The county auditor shall establish rules for reporting and accounting by the agents. No administrative or similar fee shall be charged in any county except as authorized by this division or division (F) of this section.

(F) For any county that accepts the payment of dog and kennel registration fees by financial transaction devices in accordance with section 955.013 of the Revised Code, in addition to those registration fees, the county auditor shall collect for each registration paid by a financial transaction device one of the following:

(1) An administrative fee of seventy-five cents or another amount necessary to cover actual costs designated by the county auditor;

(2) If the board of county commissioners adopts a surcharge or convenience fee for making payments by a financial transaction device under division (E) of section 301.28 of the Revised Code, that surcharge or convenience fee;

(3) If the county auditor contracts with a third party to provide services to enable registration via the internet as provided in section 955.013 of the Revised Code, a surcharge or convenience fee as agreed to between that third party and the county for those internet registration services. Any additional expenses incurred by the county auditor that result from a contract with a third party as provided in this section and section 955.013 of the Revised Code and that are not covered by a surcharge or convenience fee shall be paid out of the allowance provided to the county auditor under section 955.20 of the Revised Code.

(G) The county auditor shall post conspicuously the amount of the administrative fee, surcharge, or convenience fee that is permissible under this section on the web page where the auditor accepts payments for registrations made under division (B)(1) of section 955.013 of the Revised Code. If any person chooses to pay by financial transaction device, the administrative fee, surcharge, or convenience fee shall be considered voluntary and is not refundable.

Sec. 955.20.  The registration fees provided for in sections 955.01 to 955.14 of the Revised Code constitute a special fund known as "the dog and kennel fund,." which The fees shall be deposited by the county auditor in the county treasury daily as collected, and shall be used for the purpose of defraying the cost of furnishing all blanks, records, tags, nets, and other equipment, for the purpose of paying the compensation of county dog wardens, deputies, poundkeepers, and other employees necessary to carry out and enforce sections 955.01 to 955.261 of the Revised Code, and for the payment of animal claims as provided in sections 955.29 to 955.38 of the Revised Code, and in accordance with section 955.27 of the Revised Code. The board of county commissioners, by resolution, shall appropriate sufficient funds out of the dog and kennel fund, not more than fifteen per cent of which shall be expended by the auditor for registration tags, blanks, records, and clerk hire, for the purpose of defraying the necessary expenses of registering, seizing, impounding, and destroying dogs in accordance with sections 955.01 to 955.27 of the Revised Code, and for the purpose of covering any additional expenses incurred by the county auditor as authorized by division (F)(3) of section 955.14 of the Revised Code.

If the funds so appropriated in any calendar year are found by the board to be insufficient to defray the necessary cost and expense of the county dog warden in enforcing such sections 955.01 to 955.27 of the Revised Code, the board, by resolution so provided, after setting aside a sum equal to the total amount of animal claims filed in that calendar year, or an amount equal to the total amount of animal claims paid or allowed the preceding year, whichever amount is larger, may appropriate further funds for the use and purpose of the county dog warden in administering those sections 955.01 to 955.27 of the Revised Code.

Sec. 955.261.  (A)(1) No person shall remove a dog that has bitten any person from the county in which the bite occurred until a quarantine period as specified in division (B) of this section has been completed. No person shall transfer a dog that has bitten any person until a quarentine QUARANTINE period as specified in division (B) of this section has been completed, except that a person may transfer the dog to the county dog warden or to any other animal control authority.

(2)(a) Subject to division (A)(2)(b) of this section, no person shall kill a dog that has bitten any person until a quarantine period as specified in division (B) of this section has been completed.

(b) Division (A)(2)(a) of this section does not apply to the killing of a dog in order to prevent further injury or death or if the dog is diseased or seriously injured.

(3) No person who has killed a dog that has bitten any person in order to prevent further injury or death or if the dog is diseased or seriously injured shall fail to do both of the following:

(a) Immediately after the killing of the dog, notify the board of health for the district in which the bite occurred of the facts relative to the bite and the killing;

(b) Hold the body of the dog until that board of health claims it to perform tests for rabies.

(B) The quarantine period for a dog that has bitten any person shall be ten days or another period that the board of health for the district in which the bite occurred determines is necessary to observe the dog for rabies.

(C)(1) To enable persons to comply with the quarantine requirements specified in divisions (A) and (B) of this section, boards of health shall make provision for the quarantine of individual dogs under the circumstances described in those divisions.

(2) Upon the receipt of a notification pursuant to division (A)(3) of this section that a dog that has bitten any person has been killed, the board of health for the district in which the bite occurred shall claim the body of the dog from its killer and then perform tests on the body for rabies.

(D) This section does not apply to a police dog that has bitten a person while the police dog is under the care of a licensed veterinarian or has bitten a person while the police dog is being used for law enforcement, corrections, prison or jail security, or investigative purposes. If, after biting a person, a police dog exhibits any abnormal behavior, the law enforcement agency and the law enforcement officer the police dog assists, within a reasonable time after the person is bitten, shall make the police dog available for the board of health for the district in which the bite occurred to perform tests for rabies.

(E) As used in this section, "Police Dog" has the same meaning as in section 2921.321 of the Revised Code.

Sec. 2921.321.  (A) No person shall knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, physical harm to a police dog or horse in either of the following circumstances:

(1) The police dog or horse is assisting a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's official duties at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted.

(2) The police dog or horse is not assisting a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's official duties at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted, but the offender has actual knowledge that the dog or horse is a police dog or horse.

(B) No person shall recklessly do any of the following:

(1) taunt, torment, or strike a police dog or horse;

(2) throw an object or substance at a police dog or horse;

(3) interfere with or obstruct a police dog or horse, or interfere with or obstruct a law enforcement officer assisted by a police dog or horse, in a manner that does any of the following:

(a) inhibits or restricts the law enforcement officer's control of the police dog or horse;

(b) deprives the law enforcement officer of control of the police dog or horse;

(c) releases the police dog or horse from its area of control;

(d) enters the area of control of the police dog or horse without the consent of the law enforcement officer, including placing food or any other object or substance into that area;

(4) engage in any conduct that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death to a police dog or horse.

(C) No person shall knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, physical harm to a handicapped assistance dog in either of the following circumstances:

(1) The handicapped assistance dog is assisting a blind, deaf, or mobility impaired person at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted.

(2) The handicapped assistance dog is not assisting a blind, deaf, or mobility impaired person at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted, but the offender has actual knowledge that the dog is a handicapped assistance dog.

(C)(D)(1) Whoever violates division (A) of this section is guilty of assaulting a police dog or horse. Except as otherwise provided in this division, assaulting a police dog or horse is a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the violation results in the death of the dog or horse, assaulting a police dog or horse is a felony of the fourth degree. If the violation results in serious physical harm to the police dog or horse other than its death, assaulting a police dog or horse is a felony of the fifth degree. If the violation results in physical harm to the police dog or horse other than death or serious physical harm, assaulting a police dog or horse is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(2) Whoever violates division (B) of this section is guilty of harassing a police dog or horse. Except as otherwise provided in this division, harassing a police dog or horse is a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the violation results in the death of the police dog or horse, harassing a police dog or horse is a felony of the fourth degree. If the violation results in serious physical harm to the police dog or horse but does not result in its death, harassing a police dog or horse is a felony of the fifth degree. If the violation results in physical harm to the police dog or horse but does not result in its death or in serious physical harm to it, harassing a police dog or horse is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(3) Whoever violates division (B) of this section is responsible for the payment of all of the following:

(a) any veterinary bills or bills for medication incurred by the police department as a result of the violation;

(b) any damaged equipment that result from the violation;

(c) the cost of replacing the police dog or horse and of any further training of a new police dog or horse by a law enforcement officer that is required because of the death of or serious physical harm to the police dog or horse that is the subject of the violation.

(4) Whoever violates division (B)(C) of this section is guilty of assaulting a handicapped assistance dog. Except as otherwise provided in this division, assaulting a handicapped assistance dog is a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the violation results in the death of the dog, assaulting a handicapped assistance dog is a felony of the fourth degree. If the violation results in serious physical harm to the dog other than its death, assaulting a handicapped assistance dog is a felony of the fifth degree. If the violation results in physical harm to the dog other than death or serious physical harm, assaulting a handicapped assistance dog is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(D)(E) This section does not apply to a licensed veterinarian whose conduct is in accordance with Chapter 4741. of the Revised Code.

(E)(F) As used in this section:

(1) "Physical harm" means any injury, illness, or other physiological impairment, regardless of its gravity or duration.

(2) "Police dog or horse" means a dog or horse that has been trained, and may be used, to assist law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.

(3) "Serious physical harm" means any of the following:

(a) Any physical harm that carries a substantial risk of death;

(b) Any physical harm that causes permanent maiming or that involves some temporary, substantial maiming;

(c) Any physical harm that causes acute pain of a duration that results in substantial suffering.

(4) "Handicapped assistance dog" means a dog that serves as a guide or leader for a blind person or as a listener for a deaf person or that provides support or assistance for a mobility impaired person.

(5) "Blind" and "mobility impaired person" have the same meanings as in section 955.011 of the Revised Code.

SECTION 2 .  That existing sections 301.28, 955.07, 955.14, 955.20, 955.261, and 2921.321 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

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