Ohio Gov. John Kasich, now vying for the GOP’s 2016 nomination, refused to vote in favor of a bill that would have increased dog-fighting penalties, while he was serving in the Ohio Senate in 1980, Breitbart News has learned.
In February 1980, the Ohio House voted unanimously, 93 to zero, to increase penalties for dog fighting from a misdemeanor to a felony. One week later, the Ohio Senate took up the vote, and Gov. Kasich was one of only seven State Senators to vote against the legislation.
In total, the Republican nominee was in a minority of seven against 119 legislators who favored the bill.
Kasich’s team wouldn’t provide Breitbart News with any explanation of the governor’s vote, saying they tried to research the matter but most of the people who were involved in the matter are now dead because this happened almost 37 years ago.
But the issue of treatment of animals—and Kasich’s questionable activities on that front—is not something that is buried decades ago.
As Governor of Ohio, he was castigated by animal rights groups for refusing to extend emergency protections to exotic animals after a high-profile incident involving the mass-killing of endangered creatures.
In 2011, a farm owner with a long criminal record who had legally owned exotic creatures, including cheetahs, tigers, bears, wolves, and lions, decided to release his animals into the wild before committing suicide. Because Kasich had not reauthorized executive rules or regulations for owning dangerous or exotic animals, the farm owner was not breaking the law.
During the incident, law enforcement was called in and authorities decided to kill 49 of the 56 escaped animals, citing concerns for the safety of local citizens. PETA, an animal rights group, claimed the mass slaughter could have all been avoided if Kasich had extended the emergency ban on exotic animals in Ohio, which would have allowed authorities to prosecute the unstable farm owner for hosting the endangered animals.
Kasich’s predecessor, Democrat Ted Strickland, issued an executive order that prohibited anyone “convicted of an offense involving the abuse or neglect to any animal pursuant to any state, local or federal law” from owning exotic animals. It remains unclear why Gov. Kasich did not extend the emergency order.
Kasich has denied that preventative measures could have been taken to avoid the catastrophe, stating in October, 2011: “If there’s some way I could’ve prevented it, I would. But what we have to do is move forward and make sure we can clearly limit anything like this in the future.”
Kasich has made attempts to revamp his credibility with people who care for the well-being of animals. In 2000, during his first unsuccessful bid for the Presidency, Kasich helped a supporter bury her deceased dog.