YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – On Tuesday night animal lovers gathered for a vigil to support House Bill 108 which would make animal abuse a felony in Ohio. They're outraged about the cruel abuse of two puppies earlier this week.

"My initial reaction made me sick to my stomach," said protester Jenna Cintavey. "I just don't understand how people could do that to innocent puppies."

"This is just one of the reasons that H.B. 108 is so important to get passed," added Mike Smeck. "Ohio is one of four states that does not have a first offense felony provision in their animal cruelty laws."

Many are outraged after two German shepherd puppies were choke tied and abandoned out in the cold in downtown Youngstown.

The owners of the Learning Dog Training Center in Hubbard are collecting money for a reward to find who abandoned the dogs.

"You just want to do something in a case like that," explained co-owner Katie Costello. "I mean, it's horrible, so what can you do? So we thought, why don't we raise some money for the reward; sometimes money talks."

Psychologist Deirdre Petrich says it's no surprise people react so strongly to animal abuse. "It talks a lot about our protective nature and when it comes to children and animals and those that are defenseless, it really brings out our character," she explained.

She says something as cruel as animal torture is a sign of bigger problems to come. "This is not in a bubble," Dr. Petrich said. "If someone is going to do this to an animal they're going to do it to people."

Dog warden officials say there was a similar case of animal abuse on the west side last week.

Dr. Petrich says people who torture animals have likely done it before. "This is something that they tend to repeat and something that they have a need to dominate. So they pick submissive victims because they have their controlled audience right there."

Authorities hope surveillance video from the bus station across the street from where the dogs were dumped will help identify whoever is responsible.