Hohenstein bill protecting public from wild animals passes House

HARRISBURG, Nov. 13 – A bill (H.B. 1451) sponsored by state Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., which would protect the public from unsafe encounters with wild animals, passed the House today by vote of 109-94.

The legislation was proposed following a decision by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to move away from a safety measure that prohibited direct contact between the public and wildlife, particularly exotic wildlife.

This legislation would protect the public and exotic animals by preventing the public from feeding or having direct physical contact with exotic animals without having a sufficient barrier in place.

“We have to remember that wild animals are wild, and their intrinsic instincts are going to make them unpredictable,” Hohenstein said. “Scratches, bites and such from exotic animals can be very harmful to individuals and to the public at large by spreading viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections.”