HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A package of animal welfare bills passed unanimously in the Pennsylvania Senate October 19 with a 50-to-0 vote. Animal advocates hope Pennsylvania House lawmakers can save animals with a stroke of a pen.
Session wraps up Wednesday, October 26, so the package will die if not passed in the house by then.
“Libre has really become that ambassador of hope,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania director of the Humane Society of the United States.
Midstate Senator Richard Alloway added an amendment of three bills, including Libre’s Law the animal welfare package, House Bill 869.
“We’re running out of time, so we wanted to get this done before the end of the year. These are bills that most folks agree to and think are reasonable,” Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin/Adams/Cumberland/York) said.
HB 869 is sponsored by Rep. Ryan Bizzaro (D-Erie) and requires convicted animal abusers to give up their pets.
Alloway’s amendment includes Senate Bill 373. It would prevent tethering outside 24/7 and in inclement weather. Senate Bill 1372, “Libre’s Law,” and Senate Bill 294, “Cordelia’s Law,” are also included in the amendment. Cordelia’s Law would add protections for horses. The current maximum penalty for horse cruelty is a summary citation, similar to a traffic ticket.
“Cordelia’s Law actually defines torture under our cruelty code, and then through Libre’s Law, we actually have a felony-level cruelty charge for first-offense torture,” Tullo said.
Libre will be wearing a “House Bill 869” dog tag when he campaigns House lawmakers at the State Capitol on Tuesday.
“Having Libre in Harrisburg at the Capitol next week is going to be extremely important,” Alloway said. “We need everyone in this commonwealth who cares about animals and animal protection to treat these animals humanely.”
“This package has really touched the heart of so many Pennsylvanians who are calling on the Pennsylvania General Assembly to continue taking animal cruelty seriously,” Tullo said.
The package is currently in the House Rules Committee. Animal advocates encourage you to contact members of that committee, including Chair Rep. Dave Reed. Tullo says the second step is to contact Rep. Mike Turzai to get the bill on the House floor, and the third step is getting in touch with your local lawmakers.