Hill-Evans: Celebrate Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month and strengthening animal abuse laws

Animals provide us joy, companionship and perform important jobs every day for the people of Pennsylvania. Whether it’s providing comfort to a victim of crime, assisting our first responders or simply welcoming us home from a long day at work – we owe our thanks to our furry and feathered friends.

One important way we can show our gratitude is by being their voices and advocates. While your dog or cat may be able to tell you when they are hungry or want attention, they and other animals aren’t able to propose laws or speak out against cruelty.

That’s why I was proud to sponsor the unanimously adopted House Resolution 246, designating April “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month” in Pennsylvania. During this month we recognize and celebrate the victories the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – the ASPCA – and other animal advocates have made assisting and promoting the humane care and treatment of animals.

In addition to observing the month, we can and should take action to raise awareness about the abuse and neglect of animals. That includes promoting signs of abuse and steps we can all take to report suspected cases.

Signs of abuse include:

•           Tick or flea infestations.

•           Wounds on the body.

•           Patches of missing hair.

•           Extremely thin, starving animals.

•           Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners.

If you see these or other signs of suspected abuse or neglect it is important to speak up: Report animal cruelty, notify local law enforcement or your state’s local humane, animal control or animal shelter organizations immediately, and be sure to document as many details as possible.

Finally, I am thankful to report my fellow legislators took advantage of our unique position to strengthen laws that prevent and punish perpetrators of cruelty to animals. This week we passed a package of such laws, including one to have Pennsylvania join 47 other states in making animal abuse a felony, popularly known as Libre’s Law. I can think of no better way to honor “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month” than advancing this package towards becoming law.

Thank you again to the ASPCA and animal advocates across the Commonwealth for your work on this issue as we celebrate and build on the progress we have made towards ending cruelty to animals.

Carol Hill-Evans is a Democratic state representative for York County.