April 12, 2011
Animal Advocates Lobby Pennsylvania Lawmakers for Animal Welfare Legislation
Animal advocates from across the state will rally Tuesday at the state capitol in Harrisburg to urge their legislators to enact stronger animal protection laws. The event is sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States. At the event, citizen advocates will urge their legislators to strengthen laws related to banning pigeon shoots and increasing protections for dogs.
“We are thrilled to hold our fourth annual Pennsylvania Humane Lobby Day on April 12,” said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States is particularly happy that on this day, not only will constituents from across the Commonwealth come together to voice their support for animal issues, but three important pieces of animal legislation will be receiving committee votes”
Tuesday also marks the launch of the Pennsylvania Animal Protection Caucus led by chairs Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, and Representative John Maher, R-Allegheny. The caucus provides a forum for open and candid discussion of animal related legislation.
The 2011 legislation includes:
Ending Pigeon Shoots: SB 626, sponsored by Sen. Pat Browne, R-16, bans live pigeon shoots. These are cruel events where shooters aim at dazed pigeons launched randomly from boxes with the goal of downing the most birds within a ring for prizes and money. Perhaps these events occur elsewhere in the shadows, but there is no question that Pennsylvania is the state where pigeon shoots openly occur, year after year.
Anti-Tethering: HB 826, sponsored by Rep. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe County, restricts the continuous tethering of dogs. In addition to being exposed to the elements, dogs left chained up in a yard go through periods of boredom, loneliness and isolation, which eventually lead to territorial and aggressive behaviors. Violators may be subject to forfeiture of the dog.
Increased Penalties for Greyhound Racing: HB 67 / SB 71, sponsored by Rep. Curt Schroder, R-Chester, and Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-12, implements a fine of up to $10,000 for anyone who transmits or receives interstate or intrastate simulcasting of a greyhound race in Pennsylvania. Greyhound racing is considered inhumane because of the industry’s excessive breeding practices, the often cruel methods by which unwanted dogs are destroyed, the conditions in which many dogs are forced to live, and the killing and maiming of bait animals such as rabbits.
The Keystone state ranks 12th out of all states and the District of Columbia in The HSUS’ national survey of animal protection laws. Pennsylvania gained high marks for its strong animal fighting laws and its puppy mill laws. However, of the 46 states with felony level penalties for egregious acts of animal cruelty, Pennsylvania is one of only three states that don’t allow felony penalties on the first offense.
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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.