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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 22, 2020 11:05 PM
From: Senator Gene Yaw
To: All Senate members
Subject: Establishing an Animal Welfare Task Force
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:
  • 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
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.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this measure.

Introduced as SB1267