McNeill calls on legislature to move animal rights legislation

HARRISBURG, Feb. 25 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, held a news conference today at her district office on Schadt Road in Whitehall to highlight the status of her legislation aimed at protecting animals.

Joined by animal-rights activist Grace Kelly Herbert and Director of the Center for Animal Health and Welfare Kelly Bauer, McNeill provided an overview of several legislative efforts aimed at reducing animal cruelty and expressed her frustration regarding the stalled status of the bills.

“It is beyond frustrating that these bills are, essentially, stuck in committee where they’ll eventually die before seeing any advancement, despite bi-partisan support,” McNeill said. “Rather than move on legislation that clearly makes sense, has support, and would bring an end to the horrors associated with overbreeding, neglect and cruelty found at puppy mills across the commonwealth, some of my colleagues would instead sit idle and do nothing.

“I’ve seen firsthand the brutal realties of puppy mills and animal cruelty, from malnourishment and neglect to obvious signs of abuse in the form of cigarette scars,” McNeill said. “It’s time to step it up and actually do more than smiling and posing for pictures while proclaiming to be against animal cruelty. I call on my colleagues in Harrisburg to instead move legislation like H.B. 1299, H.B. 459 and H.B. 526 out of committee and to the House floor.”

McNeill explained that Victoria’s Law (H.B. 1299) was co-authored with Rep. Tracey Pennycuick, R-Montgomery, and would drive the state’s pet market toward more humane sources like shelters and responsible breeders, stopping the sale of puppy mill dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores across Pennsylvania. Additionally, under the legislation, consumers who find themselves facing unexpected financial burdens after unknowingly purchasing an animal with complications stemming from overbreeding and lack of veterinary care would have protections and recourse not offered under current regulations.

“As elected officials, we have an ethical obligation to serve all of our constituents, human or not,” said McNeill. “It’s time leadership moved on these pieces of legislation, and I encourage those who agree to connect with their elected representatives and insist movement on these bills in the coming weeks.”