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Ohio officials taking on drug-abusing pet owners

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COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio officials say some prescription drug abusers may be taking medication meant for their pets — or even injuring their pets deliberately to get them.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is working with the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association and state licensing boards to educate veterinarians about the possibility.

The Dayton Daily News reports that DeWine’s office has heard from police officers and community leaders about possible abuse of drugs prescribed by veterinarians for pets and who may even be hurting their animals to get the meds.

"Look at that face. How are you going to do anything to him just so you can abuse a prescription drug?" said Megan Stears, a dog owner, while with an injured dog.

Lawmakers took on the issue Wednesday with language inserted in a bill toughening penalties for animal cruelty. They are pushing to enforce felony charges for animal abuse, instead of misdemeanor charges.

Mike Gigus, owner of West Chester Veterinary Center, said he has seen pet owners go "vet shopping" before -- scanning which vets they think they can get drugs from.

"They kept coming back to us more quickly than they should for a refill of prescriptions," said Gigus. "So we have the idea in mind that they might be using the drugs for personal use."

As for Gigus, he's keeping drugs locked up and hoping that abusing a pet in order to get drugs doesn't keep occurring.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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