Bizzarro animal cruelty prevention bill heads to House chamber

HARRISBURG, March 22 – The state House Judiciary Committee has approved a measure authored by state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, designed to curb animal cruelty throughout the commonwealth.

Bizzarro’s H.B. 869 would prohibit people convicted of a first- or second-degree misdemeanor, or a felony, from further caring for animals they have harmed by requiring them to forfeit the animals to shelters or other organizations dedicated to preventing animal cruelty.

“If a person abuses an animal once, who’s to say they won’t do it again?” Bizzarro said. “We just can’t take this chance. Our animals deserve to live in loving, healthy homes, with people who will take good care of them. This legislation will go a long way in helping to prevent animal cruelty and let abusers know their actions will not be tolerated.”

Bizzarro said the legislation is designed to help cut down on costs associated with ensuring animal safety.

“When an animal is returned to its abuser, you keep the door open for further seizure costs if the abuse continues or, at the very least, routine checks from law enforcement,” Bizzarro said. “By keeping our animals safe in the first place, we can help reduce these costs overall.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes physical signs that an animal might be abused vary, but may include extreme thinness or emaciation, untreated skin conditions causing hair loss or rashes, open wounds and weakness. Pets may also be abused if they are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without sufficient food or water, or housed in kennels or cages that are too small for them.

House Bill 869 now makes it way to the full House for consideration.