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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: December 10, 2012 11:55 AM
From: Representative Neal P. Goodman and Rep. Jerry Knowles
To: All House members
Subject: The Frackville 15: Enhancing Penalties for Animal Cruelty
We intend to re-introduce legislation from last session (former House Bill 2707) to enhance the penalties for animal cruelty involving dogs and cats. This legislation was prompted by recent, horrifying cases of animal cruelty in our legislative districts that put a spotlight on the need to strengthen our animal abuse laws. The term “Frackville 15” refers to a severe animal cruelty case involving 15 dogs in Frackville, Schuylkill County, while the discovery of nine dead and tortured dogs in nearby Tamaqua happened soon after the case in Frackville.

Currently, first-time animal cruelty, like the Frackville 15 case, is a summary offense– the same as failing to license your dog. It only rises to a misdemeanor if someone is convicted a second or subsequent time or if it can be proven the dog was maliciously tortured or killed. Concerned citizens throughout the state have contacted us to ask that first-time animal cruelty of the nature of the Frackville 15 situation be elevated above just a summary offense. As a result, we are introducing legislation to make a first offense of cruelty to animals a third degree misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense would be a second degree misdemeanor.

As with current law, this would not apply to pet owners putting a pet down by means permitted under the Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law, nor would it impact farm operations. The legislation would also increase the penalties for ear and tail cropping, debarking, surgical birth, and removing a dewclaw without a veterinarian’s care to a third degree misdemeanor.

Introduced as HB15