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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2016 03:59 PM
From: Representative Ryan A. Bizzarro
To: All House members
Subject: Animal Cruelty (Re-Introduction)

A horse was beaten to death in broad daylight and captured on video.
A firecracker was forced under a turtle's shell and lit.
A dog was left to die, suffering for days or weeks from illness, injury and exposure.

In Pennsylvania, the maximum punishment for all three is the same as a traffic ticket.

Pennsylvania, Idaho, and Iowa are the last states to fail to provide meaningful penalties for first time offenders and safeguards for animals. It's time to change that.

We know that animal cruelty is a serious indicator of future violent crime against humans and that early intervention is key. A Chicago police department study "revealed a startling propensity for offenders charged with crimes against animals to commit other violent offenses toward human victims." Of those arrested for animal crimes, 65% had been arrested for battery against another person.

Of 36 convicted multiple murderers questioned in one study, 46% admitted committing acts of animal torture as adolescents, and of seven school shootings that took place across the country between 1997 and 2001, all involved boys who had previously committed acts of animal cruelty.

Colleagues, last session we nearly changed the landscape for animal protection in Pennsylvania in HB 869 which packaged together four important pieces of animal protection legislation into one bill. It's time to finish what we started.

This same legislation:

1. Bans any abuser convicted of a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals from getting their animals back.
2. Creates a first time misdemeanor penalty for an egregious act of animal cruelty.
3. Adds greater protection for horses that are severely abused.
4. Provides commonsense limitations on the continuous outdoor tethering of dogs.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB13