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September 24, 2012

The HSUS Applauds Pennsylvania Assembly Committee’s Passage of Critical Animal Welfare Legislation

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Pennsylvania House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee for voting to pass two important animal welfare acts. House Bill 2630, sponsored by Rep. John Maher, R-Allegheny, to regulate animal euthanasia and House Bill 2409, sponsored by Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler, to hold animal owners responsible for the costs of care of seized animals passed the Agriculture Committee today with unanimous support. 

“Both of these pieces of legislation take into account the enormous responsibility faced by Pennsylvania’s animal shelters,” says Sarah Speed Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States would like to extend our thanks to Representatives Maher and Ellis, and the entire Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for moving these bills forward.”

HB 2630, also known as The Animal Euthanasia Act, will regulate animal euthanasia and impose penalties for people in violation of the act. The act will allow shelters across the Commonwealth to procure the drugs necessary to euthanize animals in a humane manner. 

“I am proud to support compassionate legislation that will ban the use of carbon monoxide chambers in the state of Pennsylvania as a euthanasia method, said Rep. Joe Petrarca, D-Westmoreland, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Chair. “The use of carbon monoxide is dangerous and barbaric. If an animal is to be euthanized, the very least we can do is provide animals with a more gentle means.”

The Costs of Care of Seized Animals Act, HB 2409, states that owners have a financial obligation for the care for their pets. In addition, owners will be held responsible for costs of care if their animals are seized for cruelty or neglect. By shifting the burden for the cost of care to the alleged abuser, the act will encourage the vigorous investigation of animal cruelty

“This legislation will remove the enormous burden of the costs of care of seized animals currently borne by shelters across the Commonwealth” said Rep. Ellis. “I hope that this legislation will assist local shelters in expanding and preserving their important work in protecting animals from cruelty.”

HB 2630 and HB 2409 will now move to the House floor for a vote.

Facts:

  • The burden of investigation and prosecution of animal abuse is borne by local nonprofit animal shelters who must expend vast resources caring for animals seized in cruelty cases, pending the outcome of often lengthy criminal trials.

  • Many shelters are downsizing or closing their humane law enforcement divisions simply because they cannot afford the enormous cost of care. HB 2409 will help shelters continue their hands on care for animals, while not being burdened by the additional costs.

  • The few animal shelters in Pennsylvania which use out of date carbon monoxide chambers as a method of euthanasia do so because they have no access to a veterinarian to provide the necessary euthanasia drugs. HB 2630 will allow shelters across the Commonwealth the ability to procure euthanasia drugs themselves, at a lower cost – both practically and emotionally – over operating a carbon monoxide chamber.

For more information on animal welfare legislation in Pennsylvania, please visit www.humanesociety.org/pennsylvania.

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson, 240-672-8397; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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