congratsThose of us who have been working for years to pass anti-cruelty legislation remember the frustrating years when legislators avoided issues relating to cruelty to animals and viewed folks who cared about these issues as a fringe group, outside of mainstream thinking and priorities. Well, those days are gone – thanks to all of you who make your calls, send emails, meet with your legislators,  support the growth of a political action committee for animals (Humane PA), and show up for the animals!

The past week has been an historic one for the animals of Pennsylvania, and the thousands and thousands of voters who care about them. As you no doubt are aware by now, HB1238, the comprehensive cruelty law overhaul, passed the House by a huge margin: 167 to 20, and has been sent to the Senate. The events leading up to the bill’s passage and the attention legislators focused on the bill are remarkable.

The week was kicked off by a record number of attendees for Humane Lobby Day!  On Tuesday, as the bill was being voted on Second Consideration, the Farm Bureau sought an amendment striking an important and significant portion of the bill – civil immunity to humane police officers for doing their job. To say that we were worried is a huge understatement. Once upon a time not so very long ago, opposition from such a powerful constituency would render an animal bill dead in the water. But that’s not what happened! The amendment was handily defeated and legislators from both parties took a public stand advocating for the importance of the civil immunity provision.

Next: the day of the vote on the bill – a day that brought tears of joy to our eyes! The passionate speeches from the floor by lawmakers of both parties demonstrated that the humane treatment of animals has come of age in public policy and is to be taken seriously. Need more proof? Social media has been a buzz with legislators’ postings and tweets, stating their pride in supporting HB 1238. And, the weekly e-newsletter of Majority Leader Reed opened with a synopsis of and his support of the bill strengthening animal cruelty laws!

Of course, we cannot rest on our laurels. Much work remains to be done: HB 1238 still needs to pass the Senate and then be signed into law by the governor. Unfortunately, cruelty knows little limitations and there is no shortage of other issues needing our attention and hard work. But, look back on last week and for a moment give yourself the well-earned luxury of basking in a success.

Congratulations – to you and to Pennsylvania’s animals!


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Categories: Featured, Pennsylvania Law and animals, Pennsylvania politics and animals


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