Humane PA Legislative Year in Review 2011

2011:  A year of changes brought a new name, a new slogan and logo, a new website and president. Here’s a look back at some of our accomplishments, setbacks, and our work ahead for 2012.

This year Humane USA PA PAC officially changed its name to Humane PA, and created a new slogan “Giving Animals a Voice in Harrisburg” along with a new logo.

Leadership Changes: After three years of dedicated service, founder and former Senator Roy Afflerbach officially stepped down as board president to take over as Treasurer, and handed the reigns over to new President, Elissa B. Katz, Esq. Thank you Roy for your service and dedication to helping the animals.  We also added new area coordinators, Charlotte Bloom Grimme as Western PA Coordinator, Bernadette O’Brien Miller as Central PA Coordinator and Elissa B. Katz as Eastern PA Coordinator.

Looking back: In 2008, co-founder and Senior Vice President, Heidi Prescott had a vision of taking the animal lobby to the next level. As we look back on this year and the previous two years, many positive steps were taken to help animals in PA. While there should have been more legislative victories for animals this year, we had much success in building a solid following of humane voters in PA.

One of our goals this year was building up our grassroots outreach efforts, to engage more voters who care about passing more animal protection laws and to help elect solid, animal friendly legislators. Humane PA is now the largest, fastest growing and most interactive state political action committee for animals in the country. We are more than 20,000 members strong between our Facebook, Twitter, website and email lists. Humane PA has also become the model for other state PAC’s for animals.  Our website took on a new look with more information tabs and a blog, along with providing an Emergency Preparedness link after several unpredictable weather systems threatened the safety of animals in PA.

Through our outreach efforts, Humane PA has become a vehicle to communicate with animal advocates across the state.  “We have grown to be a motivated group of dedicated people. I am inspired to continue the fight for animals because our vision, back in 2008, has come to fruition and it is a true inspiration to see the caliber of people involved and the level of engaged posts and comments by our members” says cofounder and former board member Heidi Prescott.

Social Media:

–        Facebook: Number of ‘Likes’ grew by more than 55% from 2010, today we are  more than 16,500 strong with a high level of engagement from our members

–        Twitter: We have more than 500 dedicated followers including numerous legislators

–        Increased education of the political process in PA for our followers, as well as increased engagement of politically active members, especially those involved in their local party committees, both Democrat and Republican


  • S.B. 67: Greyhound Racing – signed into law by Gov. Corbett
  • S.B. 626: Live Animals as Targets (pigeon shoot bill) – passed Senate Judiciary Committee
  • H.B. 165: Service Dog Abuse – passed the House
  • S.B. 1329: Bans the use of Carbon Monoxide Chambers – passed Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee
  • H.B. 1760 Sunday Hunting – several hearings were held, with strong support from the PA Farm Bureau we were able to hold off on any vote

    New Bills introduced:

    – H.B. 1765: Provides for a tax credit for adoption of a dog or cat from a PA animal    shelter


  • S.B. 71  – With Maher anti-cruelty amendments re-referred to House Gaming and Oversight Committee

Looking ahead to 2012:


  • We take every vote on animal welfare legislation into consideration when endorsing a candidate during elections, therefore those who have shown courage, compassion and leadership in championing animal protection laws will most likely get our endorsement, turncoats and those supporting animal abuse will not.

PA Scorecard: Look for the first ever PA Scorecard that will track votes on all animal welfare bills by legislators in both the House and Senate. This will appear as a separate link on our website.

Legislative Issues:

  •  S.B. 626: Continue pushing for a floor vote to finally end Live Pigeon Shoots
  •  S.B. 1329: Expedite a vote to ban Carbon Monoxide Chambers
  • H.B. 1130: Mandatory Hold Periods – Increases the mandatory hold period of stray animals brought to shelters and mandates that police stations retain a list of found animals.
  • S.B. 27: Puppy Lemon Law – Increases protections for dog purchasers under the Puppy Lemon Law.
  • HB 1051: Exotic Animals – Eliminates the private ownership of exotic animals and restricts other types of ownership.
  • H.B. 721: Trapping – Increases the penalties for illegally laying traps.
  • S.B. 968: Protective Orders – Allows pets to be included in protective orders.
  • PA H.B. 826/S.B. 972: Tethering – Prohibits tethering a dog outside between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.: prohibits tethering in extreme weather; with a poke, prong, or choke collar, and limits the type of tether which may be used.

Our rapid growth brings with it the need for even more grassroots outreach efforts and leadership. We are in the process of recruiting area leaders for each district to help coordinate more politically active animal advocates. As a non-partisan group we hope to have leadership representation from all parties.

As we continue to grow our network of animal advocates the next phase will incorporate fundraising in order to help elect animal friendly legislators and un-seat those who are not. The recent vote on the Maher amendments to SB71 gave us a clear picture of who those legislators are.

We hope you will join us as we continue to “Give Animals a Voice in Harrisburg” and strive to make our commonwealth a more Humane PA.

Categories: Uncategorized

Author:Brett Miller

Animal Welfare Advocate


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