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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 19, 2021 04:26 PM
From: Senator Katie J. Muth and Sen. John I. Kane
To: All Senate members
Subject: The Animal Welfare Cooperation Act
In the near future, we will be introducing legislation to grant the Attorney General concurrent jurisdiction on animal cruelty. This legislation is a companion bill to that of Representative Isaacson and is similar to Senator Farnese’s SB1073 from last session. 
Pennsylvania took enormous bi-partisan strides to crack down on animal cruelty in passing Libre's law, finally creating felony level penalties for egregious acts of animal cruelty. 
The FBI has started tracking animal cruelty crimes as a risk factor for future violence against humans, and many studies have shown the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. Pennsylvania taking animal cruelty seriously is an important first step in protecting our most vulnerable citizens, however, we must make sure to do all we can to ensure its enforcement. 
In a budget hearing last year, the Attorney General stated that he would welcome concurrent jurisdiction on animal cruelty. It would permit the assistance of the Attorney General in prosecuting large scale animal cruelty cases in counties which have had little experience in doing so. The Attorney General's office would be able to both prosecute cases and train assistant district attorneys and humane police officers. Currently, the Attorney General is only able to step in on cases as referred by the District Attorney due to conflicts of interest. 
This legislation has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s Animal Protection Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of legislators from both chambers working on legislation to protect the domestic, equine and farm animals in our Commonwealth. 
We are grateful for the willingness of our Attorney General to tackle this important issue and assist our counties in becoming a model state in eradicating animal cruelty. 
Please join us in cosponsoring this important legislation. 

Introduced as SB438