Bizzarro bill to curb animal cruelty passes Pa. House

HARRISBURG, April 5 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has approved legislation proposed by state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, designed to cut down on and prevent animal cruelty throughout the commonwealth.

"Today’s passage of H.B. 869 sends a clear message that we won’t tolerate animal abuse in Pennsylvania," Bizzarro said. "We’ve all heard the horrific stories of animals being left for dead in homes where they’re not properly cared for. My legislation would help ensure these animals find the loving homes they deserve."

Under Bizzarro’s bill, anyone convicted of animal abuse with a first- or second-degree misdemeanor, or a felony, would be required to forfeit their animals to shelters or other organizations dedicated to preventing animal cruelty. It also would permit the court considering an animal abuse case to order a person convicted of summary offenses or a third-degree misdemeanor to forfeit their animals to shelters.

Bizzarro added that besides alleviating stress to the animals, the bill would help cut costs throughout communities.

"Unfortunately, there are many animal abusers who are repeat offenders," Bizzarro said. "Not only are these offenders repeatedly bringing harm to our animals, but they also cost us money in further seizures and law enforcement checks. This legislation, sponsored in a bipartisan fashion, not only makes for sound fiscal policy, but it’s morally the right thing to do."

The Humane Society of the United States reports animal cruelty can be either deliberate or the failure to take care of an animal, or neglect. Deliberate cruelty can include beating, shooting, or stabbing animals, among other things. Neglect includes not giving an animal necessary food, water, shelter or veterinary care.

House Bill 869 now heads to the state Senate for further consideration.