Current bills affecting animals, the status and what, if any, action is needed (updated July 4, 2014):
The bills listed below have been introduced in the 2013-14 session. Each has an action needed status and attached fact sheets which provide more in-depth information. This is a useful link to share with your legislators who can check back so they know how to vote on animal bills. Also, to keep current, check our Facebook page which is updated daily and sign up for our e-newsletter to receive email alerts when urgent action is needed. Check here to see how your legislator voted on bills that affect animals: 2013-14 Humane PA Scorecard.
- SB 510: Live Animals as Targets - Bans the launching or tethering of live animals for target practice, including ending heinous live pigeon shoots or live turkey “block” shoots, where live turkeys are tethered to bales of hay and shot at for contests. Introduced by Senator Pat Browne + 22 Co-sponsors. Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee. Action needed: Contact Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi to ask him to run SB 510 for a vote and your state senator to ask them to support.
- SB 82: Puppy Lemon Law - provides for dog purchaser protection. This bill gives people who purchase sick puppies more time to discover, treat and report their puppy’s condition to the seller to demand a refund or replacement and grants greater consumer protection to people whose families purchase sick or dying puppies so that sellers can be held responsible. Introduced by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf +15 co-sponsors. Status: Passed Full Senate unanimously as well as the House Agriculture Committee!
- SB 320: Animal Abuse Registry. Persons convicted of an animal abuse crime will be required to register their names, aliases, addresses, place of employment, date of birth, social security number, a recent photograph and the offense for which they were convicted within ten days. Introduced by Sen. Larry Farnese +12 co-sponsors. Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.
- SB 340: Banning the Sale of Shark Fins – shark finning is an illegal process during which poachers catch sharks, remove their fins to sell, and then dump their bodies back into the ocean. Though the sharks are still alive, they are unable to swim without their fins and, ultimately, they suffocate, starve to death or are killed by another animal. Introduced by Senators Alloway and Leach + 11 co-sponsors. Status: Passed Senate Judiciary Committee and first consideration.
- SB 521: Exotic Animals – Eliminates the private ownership of exotic animals and restricts other types of ownership. Introduced by Sen. Richard Alloway II + 10 co-sponsors. Status: passed committee and 1st consideration.
- SB 522: Anti-Tethering - addresses tethering a dog outside and unattended to any stationary object by use of a restraint and fails to satisfy a certain number specified requirements detailed in the legislation, including tethering outside below 32 or above 90 degrees. In addition, this legislation provides for a misdemeanor of the third degree if an individual violates any offense of cruelty to animals in conjunction with the tethering of dogs. Introduced by Sen. Richard Alloway II + 16 co-sponsors. Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.
- SB 718: This bill will allow Dog Law fines and penalties collected to remain in the Dog Law Restricted Account, which will help the operations of the Office of Dog Law Enforcement in conducting its statutory obligations of inspecting kennels, etc. Introduced by Sen. Chuck McIlhinny and 13 co-sponsors. Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.
- SB 862: to allow therapy dogs on public transportation. Introduced by Senator Andy Dinniman and 15 co-sponsors. Status: Passed first consideration, referred to Senate Appropriations Committee.
- SB 863: An Act addressing Pet Cruelty in domestic-violence situations. If a person with a protection-from-abuse order against them commits animal cruelty against the pet of their spouse or partner, they would face a minimum monetary fine of $2,000 and a maximum fine of $15,000. Status: Passed Senate Judiciary Committee. Action needed – ask your state senator to support!
- SB 628: An Act providing for liability for intentional or negligent killing of pet by another. This bill expands the civil action one may take against one who hurts or kills their dog or cat by a negligent or intentional act. Introduced by Senator Andy Dinniman + 5 co-sponsors. Action needed: Ask your State Senator to support.
- SB 965: This bill increase penalties for abuse of dogs and cats. Introduced by Senator Boscola + 13 others.
- SB 1107: If a kennel license has been revoked; this bill will stop a new kennel license from being issued to a person who is a member of the immediate family nor to any person who resides at the same address of the current license. Introduce by Senator Alloway + 6 co-sponsors. Status: Passed Senate unanimously. Action needed: Ask your State Senator to support.
- SB 1154: This bill will help district attorneys investigate and prosecute illegal gambling operations involving animal fighting with $250,000 for the Attorney General grant to local DAs to investigate, prosecute and enforce laws relating to illegal gambling that involves animal fighting. Introduced by State Sen. John Yudichak. Action needed: Ask your State Senator to support.
- SB 1176: This bill will prohibit landlords from forcing families from having to subject their pets to unnecessary, costly and cruel procedures such as declawing and devocalization. Introduced by Senator Mike Stack.
- SB 1261: This bill will increasing the offense for torturing or killing a K-9 officer to a felony of the second degree, allowing for a prison term of up 10 years and a fine of $25,000. Introduced by Senator Matt Smith and 28 co-sponsors. Status: Passed Senate unanimously – pending in the House Agriculture Committee.
House Bills to support:
- HB 164: Possession of Animal Fighting Paraphernalia an act that will close down any illicit operations that make or sell animal fighting paraphernalia; from the razor-sharp knives used to make cockfights bloodier, to the conditioning equipment used to prepare dogs to fight. Introduced by Rep. Todd Stephens + 55 co-sponsors. Status: Passed PA House unanimously, passed Senate Judiciary Committee and second consideration in the Senate! Action needed: Ask your State Senator to send HB 164 to the Governor ASAP!
- HB 41: Anti-Tethering - Prohibits tethering a dog outside between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.,in extreme weather; and limits the type of tether which may be used. Introduced by Rep. Mario Scavello + 31 co-sponsors. Status: Referred to House Judiciary Committee.
- HB 760: Animal Cruelty Penalties “Angel’s Law“ increased penalties for violations of the animal cruelty laws in Pennsylvania. Introduced by Rep. Dom Costa +34 co-sponsors. Status: Referred to House Judiciary Committee.
- HB 850 Tax Credit An Act amending the Tax Reform Code of 1971, providing for a tax credit for adoption of dog or cat. Introduced by Representative Jesse White + 30 co-sponsors.
- HB 913: Fine Collections related to Dog Law Enforcement: This bill will allow Dog Law fines and penalties collected to remain in with the Office of Dog Law. Since 1987 most of the fine and penalty money obtained from violations of the Pennsylvania Dog Law has been diverted for non-animal-related purposes, rather than directed toward the agency’s critical work. Introduced by Representative Katharine Watson and Rep. Joseph Petrarca +21 co-sponsors. Status: Passed House unanimously. Contact your state senator to support.
- HB 1517: Designates the shelter pet as the official pet of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Introduced by Representative Mike Schlossberg and 12 co-sponsors.
- HB 1750: Banning the slaughtering or selling of dogs and cats for human consumption in Pennsylvania. Introduced by Rep. John Maher +44 co-sponsors. Status: Passed full house unanimously. Amended in Senate Judiciary with language to stop the use of dogs, cats or other live animals or fowl for targets at trap shoot or block shoots. Passed 1st and second consideration in full senate. Action needed: Please contact your state senator to ask them to support.
- HB 1759: Require pet shops in the Commonwealth to display certain information on the cages of dogs that are offered for sale. Introduced by Rep. Kevin Schreiber + 42 co-sponsors. Status: Passed House Agriculture Committee. Action needed: please contact your state representative to ask them to support.
- HB 2015: Amends PA Cruelty Code by replacing “willfully and maliciously” with “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly” when an individual is accused of engaging in cruelty to domestic animals. Introduced by Rep. Marty Flynn + 32 co-sponsors.
- HB 2024: (Rocco’s Law) Amends the PA Cruelty Code when a person willfully or maliciously tortures, mutilates, injures, disables, poisons or kills a police animal while the animal is in the performance of their duty to a felony of the first degree. Introduced by Rep. Dom Costa + 35 co-sponsors.
- HB 2026: (Rocco’s Law) Amends PA Cruelty Code to elevate the penalty for killing or torturing a police dog to a felony of the second degree, which carries with it a maximum $25,000 fine and maximum of 10 years in jail. Introduced by Rep. John Maher + 51 co-sponsors. Status: Passed House unanimously, passed Senate Judiciary and 2nd consideration of full senate.
- HB 2027: Amends the PA Cruelty Code to increase the penalty for someone who causes the death of a police animal killed in the line of duty to a felony of the first degree.. Introduced by Rep. Jesse White + 27 co-sponsors.
- HB1534 - this bill provides for a coyote bounty program for the killing of coyotes. Introduced by Rep. Mike Pfeifer + 20 co-sponsors. Status: Passed the house 111-78, assigned to Senate Game and Fisheries Committee.
- HB 1576 “Endangered Species Coordination Act” This bill creates an unnecessary layer of bureaucratic red tape that ties the hands of agencies long trusted to protect endangered and threatened species from extinction. It also puts the agency at serious risk of losing federal funding—a critical portion of its budget and funds that are used to manage Pennsylvania’s wildlife. Introduced by Rep. Jeff Pyle + 66 co-sponsors. Status: refered to House Game and Fish Committee – hearings are being held. Contact your state representative to ask them to oppose.
- HB 353: Oppose: Reduced Safety Zone for Waterways Trapping -amends the PA Game Code to reduce the safety zone distance for trapping within any waterway, marsh, pond or dam. It creates a larger zone of danger within minutes of family homes to allow trappers an increase in territory to use submerged traps. Introduced by Rep. Dave Reed + 9 co-sponsors. Status: passed PA House and is pending in Senate Judiciary.
- HB 683: Oppose Ag-Gag - This dangerous bill would cripple the ability of investigators to expose animal abuse and/or food safety concerns. Ag-Gag bills criminalize taking photos or videos on farms to expose problems, such as animal cruelty, environmental and labor violations, and other illegal or unethical behavior. Introduced by Rep. Gary Haluska + 9 co-sponsors. Status: Referred to Judiciary Committee.
Bills signed into Law:
- HB 82: Cost of Care of Seized Animals. Good bill. Introduced by Rep. Brian Ellis +26 co-sponsors. Vote counts: Passed House 163-34, amended and passed senate 47-3, back to the House for concurrence and final passage: 158-45. It is now Act 50.
- HR 655: Good resolution. Introduced by Rep. Dom Costa. A Resolution honoring the life and service of Rocco, a Pittsburgh Canine Officer who valiantly gave his life in the line of duty, and offering condolences to those whose lives were impacted by Rocco.
- SR 197: Good resolution. Introduced by Sen. Solobay and 17 co-sponsors. A Resolution designating the week of September 23 through 29, 2013, as “Animal Disaster Preparedness Week” in Pennsylvania.
- SR 237: Good resolution. Recognizing October 20 through 26, 2013, as “Adopt a Shelter Pet Week” in Pennsylvania.
- SB 644: Bad Bill Allowing PA to continue to import non-native wild boars for canned hunts. After stiff opposition to the original bill, SB 644 was amended to make it a less bad bill, but it still is an ill-conceived step backward for animals and the environment in Pennsylvania. On April 9th, the House version (HB 723)passed 101-100, and SB 644 was amended and unfortunately has been signed into law. Read more details on our fact sheet.
You may be the decisive factor in the way your legislator votes, so please contact your state legislators to ask them to support or oppose these bills!