The Pennsylvania House could consider a bill as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday, October 3) that would be detrimental to the rights of animal owners. This bill could force owners to relinquish their animals when they are accused of cruelty, regardless of whether the charges are ultimately dismissed.
Responsible dog owners in Pennsylvania are strongly urged to contact both their State Representative and their State Senator, and ask them to not support House Bill 2409 as currently written.
Click here to find the name and contact information for your State Representative and Senator. View the full House and Senate contact lists by clicking on the appropriate link.
House Bill 2409 addresses the procedures and costs associated with impounding an animal when its owner is accused of animal cruelty as defined in current state law. The AKC is concerned with several provisions in this bill, including the forfeiture of all ownership rights if the accused fails to pay the amount mandated by the court at any time during the trial.
An amendment has been added to the measure that limits the “reasonable costs of care” to $15/day per animal, in addition to “necessary medical care” as determined by a licensed veterinarian and documented by invoices. However, depending on the length of the trial and the costs of veterinary care, this could still prove to be a significant cost to animal owners. If the owner is eventually released from the charges, they will only be reimbursed for the amounts not used.
The AKC strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs and believes that no dog should be kept in circumstances where its needs cannot be adequately fulfilled. As currently written, however, several provisions in this bill could have detrimental impacts on animal owners ultimately found “not guilty” or released of charges. Responsible Pennsylvania dog owners are strongly encouraged to contact their State Representative and Senator and ask them to not support House Bill 2409 as currently written.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide updates as they become available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.