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Pa. Senate Passes Four Bills to Better Protect Pets and Animals – June 3, 2015
HARRISBURG (June 3) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that the Pennsylvania Senate overwhelmingly passed a package of four bipartisan bills to tighten animal cruelty laws and better protect pets and animals.
“Senator Richard Alloway II and I have been working together on legislation to improve the treatment of pets and pet animals in Pennsylvania for a number of years,” Dinniman said. “The passage of these bills marks a major step forward in that process. We clearly understand the way we treat our pets and animals is a clear reflection of our own humanity and how we treat each other. I hope our colleagues in the House will agree and send these bills to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.”
The bills are as followed:
- Senate Bill 594, sponsored by Dinniman, calls for increasing the penalty when animal abuse occurs in a domestic violence situation. This legislation unanimously passed the Senate.
- Senate Bill 78, sponsored by Alloway, prevents serious Dog Law violators from operating a kennel under a family member’s name. It ensures that if a license for a kennel owner has been revoked in the last 10 years, no new kennel license shall be issued to an immediate family of the convicted person seeking to operate a kennel at the same location. This legislation unanimously passed the Senate.
- Senate Bill 294, sponsored by Senator John Eichelberger, improves the clarity and uniformity of animal cruelty laws as they apply to horses. It ensures that equine animals are covered by current animal cruelty laws and improves the definitions of the crimes. In addition, it calls for the development of standards and procedures in determining violations and the necessary probable cause to support seizure of animals. This legislation unanimously passed the Senate.
- Senate Bill 373, sponsored by Alloway, outlaws the prolonged tethering of an unattended dog outdoors. It prohibits dogs from being tethering in unsafe situations, such as weather emergencies or under circumstances that deprive them of food, water and shelter. The bill also includes minimum shelter standards for dogs, including provisions to protect animals from moisture, wind and extreme temperatures. This legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 45-4.
Diniman said he was especially proud to see his Senate Bill 594 progress, as he has been working to pass this legislation for some time.
“All too often, an estranged spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend will get back at their spouse or partner by hurting or killing their cat, dog or other pet. It is a method of inflicting emotional and psychological harm on another person and animals get caught in the crossfire,” Dinniman said. “Meanwhile, study after study has demonstrated the direct link between violence against animals and violence against people. It’s time that we increased the penalty for such crimes.”
Dinniman also pointed out that these bills were part of the Be Kind to Pets Rally that he and Alloway held at the state Capitol in honor of “Adopt a Shelter Pet Week” in April. Dinniman was joined at rally by Jazz, a standard poodle he and his wife, Margo, recently rescued from near certain euthanization in a New York City shelter. Dinniman said Jazz continues to recover well and has already brought immense love and joy to his family.
“In recent years we have taken some significant steps to improving the treatment of dogs, cats and pet animals in Pennsylvania. We’ve continued to improve the Dog Law. We’ve banned the gassing of shelter animals with Act 182 of 2012. And we continue to encourage shelter dog adoption and rescue efforts,” Dinniman said. “But we are not done. I want to thank everyone who was integral in that success and ask for your support in getting these bills through the House.”