New Chief Justice has Soft Spot for Animals

Amy Worden writes the Philly Dawg blog for The Philadelphia Inquirer. With her permission, we are reposting her excellent article New chief justice has soft spot for animals.

SADSupreme Court Justice Thomas G. Saylor takes the oath of office later today as the new chief justice of Pennsylvania’s highest court – the oldest appellate court in the nation.

To court watchers Saylor is known as a thoughtful, deliberative and intellectual jurist.

What many don’t know about this 17-year veteran of the Supreme Court bench, is that he also is an animal lover.

SaylorSaylor, in an interview last week, wanted to talk rescue pets not jurisprudence, telling this reporter: “I hear you like dogs.” I told him that I love all animals and Philly Dawg blog – which this month celebrates its sixth anniversary – and he began sharing stories of his life with animals.

Not only has Saylor owned many dogs and cats over the years (at one point he had five dogs and three cats under his roof), but he also served as a board member of the Humane Society of the Harrisburg area and has helped place strays himself.

Saylor told me he and fellow humane society board member, former special deputy secretary in the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement Jessie Smith would together find homes for dogs that they found wandering in their Harrisburg area communities.

Today Saylor is down to just one dog, a seven-year-old rescued Belgian Shepherd named Ally. But he never goes far without his furry friend.

He said Ally comes with him to his office in Harrisburg every day.

In my 14 years covering Supreme Court sessions in the Capitol, I have yet to see a tail wagging under the bench in the Capitol.

But now I’ll keep my eye out for Ally.

Amy_WordenAmy 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. To pass along a tip or contact Amy, click here. Reach Amy at


Categories: Animal law, Pennsylvania Politics, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Uncategorized


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