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Pennsylvania House of Representatives Passes Bill to Crack Down on Poachers

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States praised Rep. Edward Staback, D-Lackawanna and Wayne, and the members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for passing H.B. 1859, a bill to increase penalties for wildlife poaching. The vote was 196 to 3. The HSUS now urges the Pennsylvania Senate to pass this important legislation.

Poachers exploit animals for personal gain or for thrills. These criminals know they will most likely not be caught. With each enforcement officer covering hundreds of square miles, the most effective tools to stop poaching must include adequate deterrents. Put simply, the cost of being caught must outweigh the risk and profit of poaching. H.B. 1859 increases penalties for a wide range of wildlife crimes, from killing endangered species to operating commercial poaching operations.  It also elevates habitual poaching to a felony crime and creates the possibility of jail time for many wildlife crimes. 

"Law enforcement, animal advocates and rank-and-file hunters agree that wildlife criminals deserve penalties that fit the crime," said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director of The HSUS. "This legislation is long overdue."


  • Poaching is a broad term that includes wildlife abuses such as illegally killing wildlife, using illegal weapons or leading others to kill animals illegally as an unlicensed guide.
  • Pennsylvania currently has some of the lowest penalties for poaching in the United States, making it a safe haven for poachers.
  • Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 to 5 percent of poachers are caught. Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways.
  • Currently, there is no possibility for jail time unless the violation involves threatened or endangered species.

For more information on poaching, please visit:  humanesociety.org/poaching.


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.