Historic Animal Protection Bill Passes Senate, Headed to Governor’s Desk

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HARRISBURG – A comprehensive bill to prevent numerous forms of animal cruelty is on its way to Governor Wolf to be signed into law, according to Senator Rich Alloway II (R-33).

House Bill 1238 strengthens existing animal abuse laws and makes it easier to prosecute a person who knowingly mistreats, abuses or neglects an animal. The bill also adds a new classification of aggravated animal cruelty for offenders who cause the death or serious bodily injury of an animal. Violators could be found guilty of a third-degree felony.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously today.

“The improvements in this bill are the most significant changes to Pennsylvania’s animal abuse laws in more than three decades,” Alloway said. “The effort to strengthen laws against animal cruelty was driven not only by members on both sides of the aisle in the General Assembly, but also by an army of tireless advocates who wrote, called and emailed their Senators and Representatives in pursuit of a safer environment for our furry friends.”

The re-write of Pennsylvania’s animal abuse laws is based on a bill Alloway introduced last year in response to the story of Libre, a Boston terrier puppy who was rescued last year from a Lancaster County farm after suffering from weeks of severe neglect. The Senate approved Alloway’s version of Libre’s Law in April.

The legislation also includes language Alloway introduced to prevent dog owners from tethering their pets without access to food, water and shelter, or during periods of intense heat, cold, or other forms of inclement and dangerous weather.

In addition, the bill includes a number of other provisions to protect animals, including measures to provide for the forfeiture of animals in cases of abuse, adds protections for horses and creates a new classification for crimes against guide dogs and police animals.

CONTACT:  Melissa Knepper (717) 787-4651