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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 10, 2014 11:36 AM
From: Representative Marty Flynn
To: All House members
Subject: Animal Cruelty – Domestic Animals
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would amend Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), § 5511 (Cruelty to Animals), of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes by replacing the mental requirements of “willfully and maliciously” with “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly” when an individual is accused of engaging in cruelty to domestic animals.

It has come to my attention that some prosecutors have found it challenging to prove the mental elements of willfully and maliciously beyond a reasonable doubt for the misdemeanor-graded crime of cruelty to domestic animals. Recently, a German Shepherd family pet escaped from its yard in Northumberland County. A neighbor saw the dog running outside on his property, and proceeded to shoot it twice at close range. Sadly, the dog later succumbed to its injuries. Criminal charges are expected to be filed; however, under current law, the Commonwealth is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the neighbor acted willfully and with malice – a difficult feat to overcome.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation. Thank you!

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Introduced as HB2015