By Tara Czekaj, Animal Friends Humane Legislation Committee Member
The Pennsylvania General Assembly 2021-2022 Regular Session ended on December 31 with several wins for animals, but there is still a lot of work to do – both at the state and local level.
|Pennsylvania had several policy wins in the last session.
• The Modified Fireworks Law will require fireworks users to provide a written notice to animal housing facilities within 72 hours of discharging fireworks within 150-300 feet of their property.
• Titan’s Law, named after a police dog who died in the line of duty, set up enhanced penalties for police animals who die or are injured by criminals in the commission of felony crimes. It will also allow EMT personnel to provide aid and transport to the injured animal without risk of liability.
|At the local level in the state, Allentown, in Lehigh County, helped to bookend the state on several animal protection issues.
• Allentown passed an ordinance to ban the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits in pet stores. Allentown is the third largest city in Pennsylvania, which means advocates have closed the three largest mill markets in Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and now Allentown.
• Allentown also joined the City of Pittsburgh in banning the declawing of cats.
|As animal protection legislation advocates turn their attention toward working with a new administration in the 2023-2024 state legislative session, there are several priority issues in Pennsylvania. These include:
• A Pet Retail Sales bill (aka “Victoria’s Law”) that would drive the pet market to humane sources and help to protect pets and consumers. Along these same lines, the Humane Society of the United States plans to reintroduce legislation to prohibit pet stores from financing the purchase of a dog or cat.
• Ending senseless live pigeon shoots.
• Policy action to increase access to veterinary telemedicine to address gaps in service and better serve pets and their people more equitably.
• Discussing proposals to help dogs suffering in labs by ensuring adoption opportunities, restricting breeding of dogs for research and increasing investments in non-animal research methods.
• Urging the Pennsylvania Game Commission to initiate a rule to ban Wildlife Killing Contests in the Keystone state, as other wildlife commissions have done.
Individuals looking to help advance animal protection legislation in their own community and at the state and federal levels can join our Humane Volunteer Policy Leader program by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.