Date:

Dear Senator,

My personal comments are...

 

 



We are requesting that the Pennsylvania Senate move and amend House Bill 709, PN 2707, which was laid on the table since December, 2003.

In the Crimes Code, the crime of torturing, abusing or maiming a domestic animal is currently graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. We are requesting that the Pennsylvania Senate amend the current version of this bill to include the correct sentence for a misdemeanor of the first degree, which was properly and formerly contained in House Bill 709, PN 1653. This is essentially a technical amendment.

The correct sentence for a misdemeanor of the first degree is 5 years. It is correctly set forth in every other section of the Crimes Code. The current version of House Bill 709 lists the sentence as only 2 years. This change was inexplicably made in the Judiciary Committee in the latter part of September.

The Judiciary Committee’s amendment fails to recognize that the torture, maiming or abuse of domestic animals (like cats or dogs) is a very serious matter, worthy of the greater penalty. Further, this type of conduct is often related to, and a known precursor of, violence against humans.

Researchers have long recognized a strong correlation between animal abuse in childhood expanding into later violence toward humans. Most criminals who have been violent toward people share a common history of cruelty to animals.
(For research facts, see the following: www.vbspca.com/stop_cruelty_fact_research.html)

We do want to thank the Senate Judiciary Committee for its other helpful amendments to the bill. These amendments will punish acts of negligent cruelty that are committed by animal owners. These changes were probably necessitated by a recent Pennsylvania Superior court case, urging the Legislature to acknowledge this type of cruel conduct.


In sum, we are asking the Senate to move this important bill on behalf of all of the animals, animal welfare professionals, animal trainers, and animal owners who reside in Pennsylvania.

BUT IT IS CRITICAL TO AMEND THE CURRENT VERSION OF HOUSE BILL 709 TO SPECIFICALLY REFLECT THE CORRECT 5-YEAR SENTENCE FOR MISDEMEANORS OF THE FIRST DEGREE!

 

Sincerely,

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