Thwarting animal abuse by supporting H.B.13
Thwarting animal abuse by supporting H.B. 13
In Pennsylvania, the penalty for stealing 50 cents from someone’s car is tougher than for stabbing a dog.
Stealing the change out of a car is a third-degree misdemeanor and carries a jail sentence of up to a year and a $2,000 fine. Stabbing a dog is only a summary offense with a maximum penalty of a $750 fine and 90 days in jail, and even if convicted, the abuser can have the dog back.
What is wrong with this picture?
It’s appalling that the maximum punishment for abusing animals is the same as stealing those coins or a traffic ticket.
Or for beating a horse to death in broad daylight and capturing it on video.
Or for putting a firecracker under a turtle’s shell.
Or for leaving an abandoned dog to die of mange and skin infections while locked in a cage.
That is why I have reintroduced H.B. 13, which would set stricter penalties for animal abuse.
Last session I championed this legislation (formerly H.B. 869) to change the landscape for animal protection in Pennsylvania. The legislation unanimously passed the state Senate and made it out of the House Rules Committee twice, but failed to secure a final vote before the legislative session ended.
Anyone convicted of animal cruelty should never be given the animal back, and my legislation ensures that after months of care and love in a shelter, an abused pet is not condemned to the same fate from which he was rescued.
House Bill 13 also would punish egregious acts of animal cruelty as a misdemeanor, taking the pain and suffering of our most vulnerable animals seriously. It also would improve protection for horses and set commonsense limitations on the continuous outdoor tethering of dogs.
A Chicago police department study revealed that offenders charged with crimes against animals usually commit other violent offenses toward people. The report revealed that of those arrested for crimes against animals, 65 percent has been arrested for assaulting another person.
Of the 36 convicted murders questioned in the study, 46 percent admitted committing acts of animal torture as adolescents and of seven school shootings that took place across the country between 1997 and 2001, all involved boys had previously committed acts of animal cruelty.
Pennsylvania, Idaho and Iowa are only states to fail to provide meaningful penalties for first-time animal-abuse offenders and safeguards for animals.
Last year in Lancaster County a Boston terrier puppy name Libre captured national medial headlines after being found near death, skin ravaged by mange, locked in a cage. No one faced charges for Libre’s neglect, and even if they had, the result would likely have been a mere $50 fine.
Please contact your state representative and state senator and ask them to support my legislation, H.B. 13.
Do it for every pet that ever loved you.
Together, we can protect them.
(State Rep Ryan Bizzarro is a third-term legislator in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives serving the 3rd Legislative District.)
CONTACT: Roseann Cadau
House Democratic Communications Office