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January 25, 2010

The HSUS Applauds Legislation to Protect Pennsylvania’s Wildlife

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Humane Society of the United States welcomes the introduction of legislation to add Pennsylvania to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. The bill, S.B. 1200, is sponsored by Sen. Richard Alloway, R-33.

The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact is a nationwide law enforcement network aimed at keeping poachers who have lost their hunting privileges in one state from hunting in another. Since its institution in 1989, 33 states, including Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and New York, have joined the Compact.

"Pennsylvania's participation in the Wildlife Violator Compact not only prevents chronic violators from simply moving their activity to another state, it also provides a deterrent that is more powerful than monetary fines and penalties. Participation in this cooperative interstate effort will enhance Pennsylvania's ability to protect and manage the state's wildlife resources for the benefit of all residents and visitors," stated Sen. Alloway.

"S.B. 1200 sends a strong message to out-of-state violators that Pennsylvania will no longer serve as a safe haven for their illegal activity," said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for the HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States thanks Senator Alloway for his commitment to strengthening Pennsylvania's wildlife protection laws." 

In a December 2009 case, the Pennsylvania Game Commission collaborated with the Colorado Division of Wildlife to bring to justice three poachers whose killing spree had spanned three states. The poachers, whose licenses were revoked in Colorado, can no longer legally hunt in 32 additional states thanks to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. However, they can still hunt legally in Pennsylvania. S.B. 1200 aims to prevent out-of-state wildlife criminals from coming into Pennsylvania to evade the laws of Compact member states.

Poaching:

Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poachers are caught. Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways. The HSUS has established a reward program offering $2,500 for the identification, arrest and conviction of suspected wildlife poachers.

Pennsylvania has some of the weakest poaching penalties in the United States, making it a safe haven for poachers. The passage of another pending bill, H.B. 1859, would increase penalties for poaching and serve as a powerful deterrent to illegal hunting.

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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.

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