Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom of pet-friendly states

New legislation could bring stricter animal cruelty laws

ERIE, Pa. -- A new study determines that Pennsylvania is one of the worst states to own a pet and that's because of lenient animal cruelty laws.

However, some new legislation could mean stricter penalties are coming. The newly introduced House Bill 13 will make more severe penalties for abusers.

Safewise released a study about the most pet-friendly states in the nation based on cruelty laws and a number of kill shelters with Pennsylvania near the bottom of the list, coming in at No. 47 out of 50.

However, things may be changing soon with the introduction of House Bill 13 by Rep. Ryan Bizzarro.

The new legislation will combine former House Bill 869 that would prevent convicted abusers from receiving their animal back. Libre's Law increases penalties for heinous animal abuse and Cordelia's Law adds protection for horses.

House Bill 13 will also put restrictions on tethering.

"The best thing we can do is get the animal out of the situation,” director of the A.N.N.A Shelter Ruth Thompson said. “But as far as pressing charges, if you are lucky you might get a slap on the wrist but they are really not animal-friendly.”

House Bill 13 was introduced on Jan. 23. Legislatures are in session now and a vote on the bill could be coming soon.

"We have really been in motion since 2015,” Nicole Bawol, director of the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania, said. “I know Representative Bizzarro, people in the Pennsylvania Senate have been working to pass stricter laws.” 


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