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March 12, 2012

Animal Advocates Gather at Pennsylvania Capitol to Lobby for Animal Protection Legislation

ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®)

Citizens from across Pennsylvania participating in Humane Lobby Day 2012, met with lawmakers at the Capitol on behalf of legislation to reduce animal suffering in the state. Top-priority measures would ban the private possession of exotic animals as pets, prohibit the use of carbon monoxide chambers to euthanize animals, and outlaw live pigeon shoots. The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA® hosted Humane Lobby Day and were joined by representatives from Animal Care Sanctuary, Humane League of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Animal Welfare Network.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, presented Rep. John Maher, R-Allegheny, with the Humane Legislator of the Year award for his tireless efforts to crack down on animal cruelty and his leadership in the Pennsylvania Animal Protection Caucus.

“We commend Representative Maher for his tenacious and skillful leadership on animal protection issues,” Pacelle said. “He not only stands out for his service to animal protection in Pennsylvania, but he’s one of the best state lawmakers in the country.”

“The turnout at Humane Lobby Day is clear proof that Pennsylvanians care deeply about all animals,” said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. “These face-to-face meetings between lawmakers, staff and committed voters are an important step toward raising awareness and reducing animal suffering.”

“It's important for Pennsylvania lawmakers to hear from their constituents and enact laws to prohibit exotic animal ownership and pigeon shoots, and protect animals against carbon monoxide chambers,” said Debora Bresch, attorney and senior director, eastern region, of ASPCA Government Relations. “All of these activities are outdated and inhumane. Gassing often takes up to 30 minutes to be effective and causes many animals to panic and suffer during the procedure. Gas chambers also pose a serious risk to employees of animal shelters because carbon monoxide is highly toxic to humans and difficult to detect.”

Humane Lobby Day attendees urged their legislators to support the following bills:

  • H.B. 1398 to ban the private possession of exotic animals as pets. Several horrific cases of captive wild animals mauling their owners or escaping and threatening the community demonstrate the necessity of this legislation. It is nearly impossible to provide a quality standard of living for exotic wildlife in private menageries. This legislation will protect both the animals and the public from the perils of substandard enclosures.
  • S.B. 1329 to ban the use of carbon monoxide chambers to euthanize animals. The carbon monoxide chamber can only provide humane euthanasia in the most ideal circumstances, which can rarely, if ever, be met by shelters and private animal control operators. This legislation will ban the use of carbon monoxide chambers to euthanize all except the most dangerous animals and put into place a system for shelters to gain access to euthanasia drugs which are safer, more efficient, and capable of providing a more humane death. The HSUS and ASPCA urge all Pennsylvanians to spay and neuter their pets and adopt animals from shelters to minimize the need for euthanasia.
  • S.B. 626 to ban live pigeon shoots. For too long, Pennsylvania has played host to out-of-state shooters who wound thousands of live birds each year for fun and prizes. Live pigeon shoots are underground events where contestants compete to shoot down the most birds within a designated scoring area.

Pennsylvania ranks 20th in The HSUS’ 2011 state animal protection rankings, which grades each state  based on a wide range of animal protection laws dealing with pets, animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife, animals in research, horses and farm animals. The state gained points for its strong animal fighting and puppy mill laws, but remains one of only a handful of states with no felony penalties for first offense animal cruelty violations.

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Media Contacts: HSUS - Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org

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