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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 18, 2014 11:49 AM
From: Representative Dom Costa
To: All House members
Subject: Animal Cruelty Violations - Angel’s Law

In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation – House Bill 760 – to strengthen our animal cruelty laws in the Commonwealth.

As you may know, a number of studies have concluded that individuals who commit acts of animal cruelty have a higher likelihood of committing domestic violence, as well as other acts of violence against individuals. As such, these individuals not only commit cruel and inhumane acts against animals, but they also pose a threat to our communities. Therefore, I believe we need to ensure that we have sufficient penalties in place to adequately punish these individuals committing these acts of animal cruelty.

Specifically, my legislation amends Section 5511 (Cruelty to Animals) of Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) by raising the grading for various animal cruelty offenses under the statute. Currently, the overwhelming majority of first-time offenses are categorized as summary offenses. My legislation would increase the penalties for these actions to misdemeanors of the third degree. In addition, my legislation would also increase the penalties for individuals who commit second or subsequent acts of animal cruelty.

By increasing summary offenses to misdemeanor offenses and more strongly punishing those individuals who are guilty of repeated animal cruelty offenses, I believe we can better ensure that all offenders are dealt with in our criminal justice system, thereby reducing the acts of violence committed against both animals and humans in our Commonwealth. We must do our part and put an end to animal cruelty, and I believe that starts with increasing penalties and maintaining accurate records of these heinous offenses. I ask that you please join me in sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB113