Bizzarro introduces ‘Beagle Bills’ to enhance protections for animals

Closes loophole in state law, increases adoption chances

HARRISBURG, Nov. 3 – Continuing his streak of fighting for animals that can’t defend themselves, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie) is introducing legislation to protect dogs and cats that are being sold or used for medical experiments.

Modeled after the successful "Beagle Bills" that were unanimously passed in Virginia this year, these bills would restrict the import and sale of animals from kennels and dealers with serious or multiple citations under the federal Animal Welfare Act, require those breeding dogs and cats for medical or scientific experimentation to keep records, enhance animal adoption and close loopholes in Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty law.

“My passion for protecting the rights of animals has never wavered. I was proud to author Libre’s Law that strengthened penalties for people who abuse animals, and I’m proud to once again offer legislation that protects our four-legged friends,” said Bizzarro. “Pennsylvania can do a better job to protect animals that are being bred and used for research, and from shady kennels and dealers. That’s exactly what my bills would do.”

These bills would require those who breed dogs and cats for sale to animal testing facilities and the testing facilities themselves to offer dogs and cats for adoption once the animals are no longer needed and adoption poses no risk to the animal or to the public. It would also prohibit the sale of dogs or cats by a kennel or person that has received citations for violating the Animal Welfare Act for research purposes.

Bizzarro’s legislation also contains common sense reforms like giving animal testing labs and kennel employees whistleblower protections when reporting animal abuse and allowing Pennsylvania's regulators to take away kennel licenses when a specific operator has been convicted of state and/or federal charges of cruelty to animals.

Over the summer, nearly 4,000 beagles were rescued from a mass breeding facility in Virginia where they were victims of various science experiments. The ANNA Shelter, a non-profit, no-kill open admission animal welfare organization located in Erie, took in 50 of those beagles. The shelter said all 50 have since been adopted.

In addition to authoring Libre’s Law, Bizzarro was named National Legislator of the Year by the Humane Society of the United States. He’s been a staunch supporter and advocate of local animal shelters, including the ANNA Shelter and the Erie Humane Society.

More information about the Pennsylvania Beagle Bills can be found here. All three pieces of legislation have been referred to committees for further action.