Gov. Wolf signs tougher animal cruelty measures into law |

Gov. Wolf signs tougher animal cruelty measures into law

Pennsylvania is taking a tougher stance on animal cruelty.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that makes for stiffer penalties and updated regulations on the issue.

“I am proud to sign the Animal Abuse Statute Overhaul into effect today, strengthening the penalty for animal abuse and neglect in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Today is a day of celebration for opportunity for all Pennsylvanians, and animal-lovers everywhere and I am proud to be a part of the true collaboration that helped make this landmark legislation a reality,” said Wolf in a release.

The new law was heralded as “miraculous” by Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller.

“The new animal cruelty legislation restructured an older piecemeal statute and makes the animal cruelty statutes much stronger and easier to understand and use for law enforcement,” she said. “It is wonderful to finally have a felony charging option when animals are tortured or seriously bodily injury or death are caused to these innocent creatures. Our animals deserve this protection and so much more. We have prosecuted many cases that could have been charged as this felony and frankly should have been but at the time Pennsylvania was behind the times.”

The law increases protection for horses and gives veterinarians and other animal professionals insulation from civil suits for reporting abuse.

It also spells out the rules for tying dogs. According to Parks Miller, it limits tethering to nine hours in a 24-hour period, prohibits poorly-fitting collars or too-short tethers, and takes into account things like high or low temperatures, cleanliness and the dog’s physical condition.

“This means that there is more protection for animals, but it will also mean that there will be more need for people to enforce it and more burdens on the people that already do,” said Parks Miller. “The legislature at times solves problems and forgets to up the manpower needed to implement great changes and I hope they look at increasing enforcement funding for law enforcement and humane enforcement in light of these great changes.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.