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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 23, 2014 11:53 AM
From: Representative Michael H. Schlossberg
To: All House members
Subject: Designating the Shelter Pet as the Official Pet of the Commonwealth
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce House Bill 1517 from the 2013-2014 legislative session. As you may recall, my bill designates the shelter pet as the official pet of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is my sincere hope that you will join me in this important effort.

As many of you are aware, the growing pet population continues to be a problem in this Commonwealth and across the nation, placing an increasing strain on local shelters and taxpayers. According to the most recent estimates, there are approximately 83.3 million dogs and 95.6 million cats owned as pets in the United States. As the number of pets increases, so does the number of cats and dogs that end up in this country’s 3,500 animal shelters. According to the Humane Society of the United States, between 6 and 8 million cats and dogs enter these shelters every year, with roughly half of these animals being euthanized due to overcrowding and illness.

My legislation aims to call attention to the plight of shelter pets and encourage adoption by naming them the official pet of the Commonwealth. It is estimated that only 20 percent of dogs and 26 percent of cats in the United States are adopted from animal shelters, even though most of these facilities perform health examinations and provide vaccinations to animals when they arrive. Additionally, animal shelters routinely spay and neuter pets in their care, helping to keep the pet population in check. Furthermore, adopting a pet from an animal shelter is generally less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through a breeder. By bringing attention to this important issue, we can encourage the citizens of Pennsylvania to adopt from a local shelter to provide one of these shelter pets with a loving home, and reduce the number of euthanized animals.

The State of Colorado recently became the first in the nation to give shelter pets this designation; it is my goal for Pennsylvania to be the second. I hope you will join me in this effort.

The following Members co-sponsored this legislation in the last session: O'BRIEN, K. BOYLE, SWANGER, W. KELLER, McNEILL, FRANKEL, V. BROWN, BIZZARRO, M. DALEY, READSHAW, WHITE, COHEN and MURT

Introduced as HB19