Stronger animal protection laws

Local News

Stronger animal protection laws take effect today in Pennsylvania.

Dogs can no longer  be tied outside for more than nine hours in a 24 hour period, or for more than 30 minutes in extremely hot or cold weather.

They must also have water and shade.

Penalties for crimes against horses have been upgraded to align with those for crimes against dogs and cats.

People convicted of abusing an animal will have to surrender it to a shelter.

Below is a complete breakdown of the new law.

Five key components of the legislation include:

1. Improved tethering conditions for outside dogs

    ·No more than 9 hours tethered in 24-hour period.

    ·Tether must be the longer of 3 times length of dog or 10 feet.

    ·No more than 30 minutes in 90+ or -30-degree weather.

    ·Must have water and shade.

    ·Must be secured by an appropriate collar – no tow or log chain, nor choke, pinch, prong, or chain collars.

    ·Tethered space must be clear of excessive waste.

    ·No open sores or wounds on the dog’s body.

 2. Added protections for horses

    ·Currently, most crimes against horses are graded as summary offenses – similar to traffic and littering violations.

    ·This law aligns penalties for crimes against horses with penalties for crimes against dogs and cats.

3. Increased penalties for animal abuse


    ·Penalties: Summary offense (up to 90 days in jail and/or a $300 fine) OR misdemeanor of the third degree (up to 1 year in jail and/or $2,000 fine) if neglect causes bodily injury or places the animal at imminent risk


    ·Penalty: Misdemeanor of the second degree (up to 2 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine)

Aggravated cruelty

    ·Penalty: Felony of the third degree (up to 7 years in jail and/or a $15,000 fine)

4. Ensures convicted animal abusers forfeit abused animals to a shelter

    ·Requires forfeiture of animal of anyone convicted of a felony violation and allows for fortitude upon other convictions.

5. Grants civil immunity for veterinarians and veterinary technicians

    ·Shields licensed doctors of veterinary medicine, technicians, and assistants who report animal cruelty in good faith from lawsuits. 

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February 07 2021 06:30 pm

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