|In the near future, I will be introducing legislation creating a Task Force to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based, strategic plan through a collaboration between veterinarians, doctors, state agencies and concerned legislators to evaluate our current animal welfare laws. The legislation will promote the health and well-being of Pennsylvania residents, companion animals and the environment.
I intend for this legislation to focus on the following key areas:
Over the years, there have been a number of bills pending before the PA General Assembly that seek to address animal welfare. While these bills are well-intentioned, I believe we need to take a holistic approach and thoroughly examine Pennsylvania's existing laws.
- Cruelty Issues – consolidated, concerted and collaborative look at all aspects of the existing laws and how best to improve and expand under one umbrella, rather than piece meal
- Dangerous Dogs and Dog Bites/Aggression
- Puppy Lemon Laws – revisit, improve and explore expanding law to include non-commercial transactions
- Sheltering of Dogs – expand and improve laws to apply to commercial and non-commercial facilities. Address how best to shelter dogs in situations regarding the homeless and those fleeing domestic abuse.
- Transport of dogs into and within Pennsylvania – take a comprehensive look at the animal and public health issues (“One Health”) and propose regulation accordingly.
- Licensure and Kennel Inspection –
- Expanding licensure requirements, regardless of whether for profit or not-for-profit (tiered-approach)
- Fee increases to fund enforcement
- Veterinarians as point-of-sale for individual dog licenses, to capture unrealized revenue and promote sterilization and microchipping (permanent identification).
- Modernizing the state’s dog License and kennel licensing systems
- Pain Management in Companion Animals –
- Best practices – explore how best to provide relief of pets from suffering while balancing public health issues, in the face of an opioid shortage
- Issues related to alternative therapies, such as CBD/cannabis – ambiguity regarding THC legality and research.
- Compounding of drugs and pharmacy issues
- Consider expansion of PA Laws to include certain aspects of cat ownership
- Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this measure.