Stephens’ Bill to Protect Animals Passes the House
HARRISBURG -- Legislation sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) to protect animals by creating the offense of “possession of animal fighting paraphernalia” has passed the House.

Under House Bill 164, animal fighting paraphernalia is defined as any device, implement, object, facility, space or drug used, or intended to be used, for animal fighting or to train an animal for fighting. An example of such an object is a razor-sharp gaff that is attached to a rooster’s legs to cause greater damage to its opponent in a cockfight. Possession of animal fighting paraphernalia will be graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree, subjecting an offender to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

“Animal fighting is a felony of the third degree, but unfortunately police often find the tools of the trade rather than an animal fight in progress,” Stephens said. “This bill helps ensure people who commit these barbaric acts don’t escape punishment.”

“This decisive vote shows that our state is serious about banning the instruments of torture used to make cruel fights even bloodier for entertainment’s sake,” said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Animal fighting is a depraved activity, and everything associated with it should be outlawed. We thank Representative Stephens for his leadership on this important bill, and we urge the state Senate to swiftly pass it.”

The bill moves on to the Senate.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster
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