PA lawmakers rally for pro-pet bills

Amy Worden, Inquirer Staff Writer, writes the Philly Dawg blog for The Philadelphia Inquirer. With her permission we are reposting her blog about the Dog Rally and a raft of anti-cruelty bills being pushed!     

Two dog loving lawmakers unveiled a package of bills Tuesday to protect pets against animal cruelty.

The five-bill package, announced at a press conference and Bring Your Dog to Harrisburg rally outside the Capitol, is aimed  at cracking down on unscrupulous breeders and improving the quality of lives of dogs once they are in a home.

“Pets offer their owners a never-ending  stream of love and companionship that has direct impact on our mood, health and  overall quality of life,” said Sen. Rich Alloway, a Republican from Franklin County. “The purpose of these bills is to ensure these cherished  members of our families are never subjected to cruel or inhumane treatment at  any stage of their lives.”

“This legislative package marks an important step forward for dogs, cats and other pets in Pennsylvania as we continue to work to ensure that they are treated properly, humanely and with the care and attention they deserve,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman (D., Chester), who brought his poodle Henry to the event. “We are committed to working in the spirit of bipartisanship to see these bills passed because our pets are beloved  members of our families.”

Also on hand was Rosy, the Humane PA PAC  mascot, A German Shepherd/Husky mix who works as a service dog.

The package includes:

SB  522 (Alloway), which sets standards for tethering dogs in relation to the  length, safety and fit of the tether, as well as the availability of food,  water, shade and suitable temperature.

SB 862 (Dinniman), which would amend the  Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to allow therapy dogs on public transportation, including buses and trains.

SB 863 (Dinniman), which would add a section  to Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Law to specifically address when animals are  injured or killed in a domestic violence situation.

SB 718 (McIlhinney), which would allow all  Dog Law fines and penalties collected to remain in the Dog Law Restricted  Account to help toward sustaining the operations of the Office of Dog Law  Enforcement.

SB1107 (Alloway), which would prevent kennel  owners who lose their license due to violations of the state’s Dog Law to  continue operating by having a license issued to an immediate family member or  another individual who resides at the same address.

But that’s not all. There are many pro-animal bills moving in the House too.

Not to be outdone, Sen. John  Yudichak (D., Luzerne) yesterday announced his bill to help curb dog  fighting. He wants to shift $250,000 from the $2 million in gambling funds that  goes to the attorney general’s office to fight illegal gambling to local district attorneys to investigate animal fighting.

“The culture of violence around dog fighting  is almost always directly linked to gangs and drugs – two areas that we have  taken direct aim at here in northeastern Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said. “This  legislation would ensure that adequate state funding is available to help law  enforcement protect animals by ending illegal and violent animal fighting rings  in our communities.”

Last week, Yudichak participated in a dog  fighting seminar in Hazleton that drew attention to the growing problem in  Northeastern Pennsylvania. The city of Hazleton is currently training its officers to recognize the signs of dog fighting and deploying its special operations group to arrest those involved thanks to an $85,000 grant to stem  illegal gambling operations.

(Photos/Courtesy Humane PA  PAC)


Amy Worden is a politics and government reporter for the Inquirer. In that capacity she has explored a range of animal protection issues from dog kennel law improvements and banning horse slaughter to the comeback of peregrine falcons and pigeon hunts. From hamsters to horses, animals have always been part of her life.

Additional Coverage from ABC 27: “Pa. senators unveil pet protection bills

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