Rep. Bizzarro's animal cruelty bill passes state Senate

State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, is elated the state Senate unanimously passed his bill with amendments that would prevent animal abusers from receiving their pets back.

The legislation is expected to be voted on concurrence in the House. Also amended in Bizzarro’s bill is anti-tethering legislation and language to protect horses.

Under Pennsylvania law, repeat animal offenders are still able to care for pets.

Bizzarro’s legislation (H.B. 869) would ensure that animals who are severely abused would not return to neglectful situations.

“Anyone convicted of abusing an animal should not be afforded the opportunity to resume the abuse, especially not after the shelter caring for the animal has invested countless charitable contributions into rehabilitating the animal,” Bizzarro said.

Bizzarro said there is a lot of stress to the animals when they are allowed to return to their abusers and it places the animal in grave danger.

According to the Pennsylvania SPCA, animal cruelty is listed as a summary offense with a punishment of a fine of a couple hundred dollars and less than 90 days in jail.

The Pennsylvania SPCA works to protect animals, prevent cruelty and improve the health and quality of life for animals in Pennsylvania. Over the course of the last three years, the SPCA has investigated over 25,000 cases of animal cruelty, saving over 4,000 animals. In 2015, the PSPCA’S Humane Law Enforcement completed over 8,300 investigations of cruelty and neglect.

“The legislature needs to punish abusers a lot more than we do now and we are almost there,” Bizzarro said.