Target: Samuel Smith, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Goal: Praise the new law in Pennsylvania that will require all animal abusers pay reparations to animal shelters
The Pennsylvania House recently passed legislation that will require animal abusers, both convicted and alleged, to pay reparations for the care of victims until their guilt is either confirmed or denied. The law will give animal shelters a much needed financial break from managing cruelty cases so they will be able to take in more rescues, reduce kill rates, and provide better services. This is a significant achievement for animal welfare and deserves our praise.
House Bill 82 makes it possible for both parties, the accused and the shelter, to meet before a judge immediately following the seizure of an animal or animals to determine who is to take responsibility for them. Many of these cases result in the owner having to pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to the shelter for reparations. For example, a couple in Chambersburg has accumulated $50,000 in fees appealing animal cruelty charges after their dogs were seized by the local Humane Society in 2010. Because of the length of the appeals process, had the shelter been forced to pay for the care of these animals it would have likely left them bankrupt.
The bill not only protects shelters, it also protects animals and defendants. Shelters have the chance to prove to a court that the seizure was necessary and, therefore, require the alleged abuser pay for the cost of taking care of the animal until the case goes to trial. It also means that these cases will take weeks or months, not years, to resolve. This will allow non-profit shelters to save thousands of dollars per year, giving them the ability to reduce euthanization numbers and take in more rescues. The law will also act as a powerful deterrent to abusers if they know that an act of cruelty or neglect could cost them thousands of dollars rather than a fine and the loss of the pet.
Please sign the petition below to thank the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania for this landmark bill that will significantly reduce the financial burden on non-profit shelters and likely save the lives of many more dogs and cats.
Dear Speaker Smith,
This week the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania passed bill HB82 which will require that anyone who has animals seized from their property and brought to shelters for neglect or abuse to pay for the care of the animals until the case is brought to trial. Thank you so much for your commitment to animal welfare.
Not only will this law keep many shelters from going bankrupt, by saving thousands of dollars every year they will be able to decrease the rate of euthanization and also rescue more animals. It will also deter many cases of cruelty and neglect because the cost of a seizure will fall on the shoulders of the abuser. It is a win for shelters, animals, and the state of Pennsylvania. Thank you again.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: taylormariewilson via Flickr