Pennsylvania ranked ‘Most Improved’ for animal protection laws

HARRISBURG — Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that Pennsylvania demonstrated improvements in reports ranking animal protection laws in the U.S. by the Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Pennsylvania’s Act 10 of 2017, an animal abuse overhaul package signed into law June 2017 by Wolf, is the key reason for the improvement.

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund report, “Best and Worst States for Animal Protection Laws,” which ranks all 50 states, Pennsylvania jumped 20 places on the list of rankings to number 24 in 2017. Illinois ranked first for the tenth year in a row, followed by Oregon, California, Maine and Rhode Island.

“This achievement is thanks to major improvements like a new felony provision for first-time offenders of aggravated animal cruelty (including torture), and granting civil immunity to veterinarians who report suspected animal abuse,” said the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Pennsylvania is now ranked at 15, versus 18, on the Humane Society of the United States’ Humane State Rankings.

Pennsylvania’s Act 10 is the first significant strengthening of Pennsylvania’s animal protection statues in 30 years.

In the bills included Libre’s Law, including improved tethering conditions for outside dogs, additional protection for horses, increased penalties for animal abuse, provisions that mandate convicted animal abusers to forfeit abused animals to a shelter, and granting civil immunity for veterinarians and veterinary technicians.