Shusterman receives Humane Legislator of the Year award

HARRISBURG, April 29 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester, has received the Humane Legislator of the Year award.

The award is given out by The Humane Society of the United States to select legislators who pursue meaningful legislation and awareness efforts related to animal issues.

“I am beyond humbled yet proud to receive this award,” Shusterman said. “It is our duty to protect the rights and humane treatment of animals across the Commonwealth and the country. I thank The Humane Society for this recognition and my colleagues in the Animal Protection Caucus for working together to protect animals.”

Shusterman has introduced H.B. 1502 which would establish a line-item budget for the Pennsylvania Animal Response Team. PART coordinates the efforts of 50 active volunteer teams with over 500 volunteers to rescue animals during times of disaster. Currently, PART receives an annual budget of $250,000.

As co-chair and co-founder of the Animal Protection Caucus, Shusterman has overseen the advancement of the following pieces of legislation:

  • H.B. 2139 – Introduced by state Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, would end live pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania.
  • H.B. 846 – Introduced by state Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, also known as “Victoria’s Law,” this legislation would drive the pet market towards humane sources like shelters, rescues and responsible breeders.
  • H.B. 1451 – Introduced by state Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., would reverse the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s expansion of public contact with wildlife.
  • H.B.s 1318, 1319, 1320 and S.B.s 701, 702, 703 – Introduced by state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, McNeil, and Shusterman and state Sen. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, is a package of bills designed to ensure adoption opportunities, restrict breeding of dogs for research, and increase investments in non-animal research methods.
  • H.B. 508 – Introduced by state Reps. Elizabeth Hanbidge and Steven Malagari, both D-Montgomery, would prohibit the declawing of cats unless the procedure is medically necessary.
  • Updates to Pennsylvania’s Dog Law which were enacted in January. The changes enacted stronger standards for kennels and shelters, curbed dishonest breeding, and safeguarded the health of dogs and owners alike.

Shusterman also plans to introduce legislation to control the travel of exotic animals.

Shusterman’s selection as Humane Pennsylvania Legislator of the Year came during Monday’s Humane Lobby Day at the Capitol. The annual advocacy event appeals for stronger animal protection laws and advances the importance of more robust animal welfare legislation.