WEST CHESTER (November 2) – State Senator Andy Dinniman was recently recognized for his work on behalf of animals with the Distinguished Service Proclamation from the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) and the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine.

“I am honored to receive this recognition,” Dinniman said. “In Chester County, we consider our pet dogs and cats members of our families. I’ve always felt that how we treat animals is a reflection of our own humanity and how we treat each other. And I will continue to work to pass stronger standards and protections that reflect those values.

“I also must thank the members of PVMA, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and all of our veterinarians for their support of these initiatives and legislative efforts,” he added.


Pictured (from left to right): Joan Hendricks, VMD, PhD, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine; Senator Dinniman; Dr. Tom Garg, VMD of Hope Veterinary Specialists in Malvern; Dr. Christina Dougherty, VMD, President of PVMA; and Russell Redding, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture.

The proclamation specifically recognized Dinniman for his “sustained advancement of animal agriculture and animal welfare and the continued success of the veterinary profession” in the state legislature and his determination “to continue his good work on behalf of animals in stopping cruelty and stiffening penalties for those who harm animals,” among other efforts.

Dinniman has been a vocal advocate for better protections for animals and stronger laws against animal abuse during his tenure in the Senate.

In 2008, he was a strong supporter of the Pennsylvania Dog Law, which cracked down on puppy mills by tightening kennel regulations and standards. In 2009, he worked to pass Act 38, which helps ensure that kennel dogs receive safe and proper medical care.

In 2012, Dinniman led the movement to pass “Daniel’s Law” (Act 182 of 2012), which bans the carbon monoxide gassing of pet animals in Pennsylvania.

Most recently, Dinniman was joined by his Senate colleagues in passing House Bill 869, an omnibus animal protection bill, that includes:

  • “Libre’s Law,” increasing the penalty for reckless abuse, mistreatment or neglect of animals and adding a felony classification for aggravated animal cruelty.
  • “Cordelia’s Law,” adding horses to the anti-cruelty statute.
  • Setting limits on tethering in relation to the length, safety, and fit of the tether, as well as the availability of food, water, shade and suitable temperature.
  • Requiring anyone who kills, maims, mutilates, tortures or disfigures a guide dog will be required to pay for veterinary costs or a replacement, in addition to any charges.
  • Requiring anyone convicted of misdemeanor or felony animal abuse to the surrender of the abused animal to an animal society or association.

That bill has now gone back to the House.

Photo Courtesy of Humane Pa.

Photo Courtesy of Humane Pa.

***Residents led by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Humane Society of the United States are planning a rally set for Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. on the Capitol steps in Harrisburg.

“These are commonsense animal protections and there is no reason why they shouldn’t pass except for legislative gridlock, political partisanship, and the meddling of special interests,” Dinniman said. “We’ve come a long way in protecting our animals, but there is still a lot of work ahead. This package would mark another major step forward.”

Earlier this year, Dinniman also worked with the PVMA and Meals on Wheels of Chester County to establish Henry’s Helping Paws Fund, a nonprofit organization that delivers pet food and pet care items free of charge to homebound senior citizens who lack the financial resources to care for their beloved animal companions.

It is named for Henry, the Dinniman family’s 9-year-old standard poodle who died in December 2014 and was well-known throughout the Chester County region.

“Keeping pets and their people together is the goal of Henry’s Helping Paws Fund,” Dinniman said. “And it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of both PVMA and Meals on Wheels of Chester County.”

Henry’s Helping Paws Fund was launched in June and has already grown to assist dozens of senior citizens in need and their pets.

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