HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Senate has unanimously approved legislation to strengthen the state’s animal cruelty laws.
House Bill 869 makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to willfully and maliciously kill, maim, mutilate, torture, disfigure, or poison a dog, cat, or equine animal.
Offenders would face a fine of at least $1,000 and up to two years in prison, and courts could order a presentence mental evaluation.
Repeat offenses involving a dog or cat would be a third-degree felony.
The bill also includes measures to prevent tethering dogs outside for extended periods of time without providing for the animal’s basic needs such as water and shelter.
The bill was sent back to the House of Representatives for concurrence. If approved by the House, it will be sent to the governor to be signed into law.