Bizzarro: Overhaul of Pa. animal abuse laws on verge of becoming law

HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, today hailed Senate passage of H.B. 1238, a sweeping overhaul of Pennsylvania’s animal abuse laws.

“It’s been a fulfilling mission working for stronger animal protection laws,” said Bizzarro, whose multiyear efforts for more robust animal welfare legislation were included in H.B. 1238. “I join the governor in looking forward to his signing the measure into law.”

Bizzarro said the comprehensive package includes Libre’s Law, which calls for tougher penalties for extreme abuse and neglect of animals. The push was spurred by Libre, the emaciated and mange-covered Boston terrier pup left for dead last summer at a Lancaster County farm but nursed back to health. Libre was in attendance for the Senate’s unanimous vote.

“With the bill soon to be signed into law, Pennsylvania will require those convicted of serious animal abuse to surrender their pets,” Bizzarro said. “Animals should not be returned to the people who have harmed them, and this provision is long overdue.”

Other provisions in H.B. 1238 will add protections for horses, ban all-day tethering of dogs and during inclement weather and provide limited civil immunity for veterinarians and humane society police officers who report suspected animal cruelty.

Bizzarro, who was named 2017 Humane Legislator of the Year in April by The Humane Society of the United States, said Pennsylvania is one of only three states without a felony statute for severe animal abuse.

“Pennsylvania is on the verge of changing that and requiring higher standards of care for our pets and other animals,” Bizzarro said. “It’s been a long but gratifying effort, and I thank and congratulate the many animal-rights supporters who worked tirelessly to get this comprehensive package of reforms to the governor.”