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Pack of bills designed to strengthen dog laws in PA

Updated: Tuesday, October 22 2013, 06:32 PM CDT
Reported by: Donna Kirker Morgan

HARRISBURG -- It was Take Your Dog to Harrisburg Day and it was used to introduce several bills designed to better protect our pets.

Many dogs were brought to the event. Some were adopted, some bought, some found, but each dog now has a special place its owner's heart.

Despite that unique relationship with our pets, Pennsylvania still classifies dogs and cats as "commodities." Because of that -- just like livestock -- their safety sits in the hands of the Department of Agriculture. A Chester County lawmaker wants to move the responsibility to the health department.

“The Department of Ag does a fine job, we are not criticizing them, but the fundamental issue is we no longer see dogs and cats as commodities but their interaction with people is what we care about. (The Department of Agriculture) fundamentally deals with rabies, hookworm anything else (that's) a health issue. This is what they do in New Jersey,” Sen. Andrew Dinniman, D-19, of Chester County, said.

That proposal is one of many in a package of bills designed to prevent or reduce animal cruelty in Pennsylvania that were revealed at the event.

Other proposals include new rules and penalties for improper tethering of dogs, allowing service dogs to use public transit, keeping dog law fines in restricted accounts to be used for dog low enforcement, and closing a puppy mill loophole.

“What's happening now is that someone gets arrested and they lose their kennel license, they just put in the name of spouse or brother. We need to stop that, that's a loophole that we need to end,” Sen. Rich Alloway, R-33, of Franklin and Adams county, said.Pack of bills designed to strengthen dog laws in PA

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