New legislation to crack down on puppy mills in Pennsylvania

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Lawmakers in Harrisburg are teaming up with the star of what was one of the hottest shows on television to promote animal welfare.

“They totally and utterly rely on us,” stated Lesley Nicol. She went on to say “So if we don’t step up and help them, shame on us, actually.”

Nicol, best known as Mrs. Patmore in the hit show “Downtown Abbey,” arrived at the capitol in support of a bill aimed at cracking down on puppy mills.

“If that were you. If you were in a captivated, stuck in a place, couldn’t get out, couldn’t speak, couldn’t get any help because you couldn’t communicate, how desperate would that be,” said the Hollywood star.

Senate Bill 44, also known as Victoria’s Law, is named after a German Shepherd who was rescued from a Pennsylvania puppy mill after 10 years of breeding. It would prohibit the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores, unless they come from licensed shelters or rescues.

Senator Andrew Dinniman, (D) 19th District, and sponsor for the bill, says to stop the puppy mills you need to cut off their financial basis. “We’ve tried other ways. It hasn’t worked. Hopefully this is what will work,” he said.

The bi-partisan bill has more than two dozen co-sponsors, and Senator Dinniman is confident it will pass.

“We’re trying to stop what is happening in terms of how we treat cats and dogs,” he said. “This is another step in that direction.”

The Bill is currently in committee, Senator Dinniman says he hopes to see it get passed in the House early this fall.

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