Gov. Wolf toughens animal cruelty, neglect laws

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Gov. Tom Wolf has signed legislation to overhaul Pennsylvania’s laws against animal cruelty and neglect.

House Bill 1238, now Act 10 of 2017, makes it easier to prosecute a person who knowingly mistreats, abuses or neglects an animal, and it requires convicted abusers to forfeit their animals to a shelter.

The new law also adds a new offense of aggravated animal cruelty for people who cause the death or serious bodily injury of an animal. Violators could be charged with a third-degree felony.

Dog owners are banned from tethering their pets without access to food, water and shelter, or during periods of intense hot, cold or dangerous weather.

“Today is a day of celebration for opportunity for all Pennsylvanians and animal-lovers everywhere,” Wolf said in a statement. “I am proud to be a part of the true collaboration that helped make this landmark legislation a reality.”

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