Stephens Bill to Update Animal Cruelty Laws Passes House
HARRISBURG—Legislation sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) that would update existing animal abuse statutes and increase penalties for abusing an animal has passed the House.

“It’s clear that our current animal abuse statute and penalties are inadequate,” Stephens said. “This is especially concerning because of the links between animal abuse and other forms of abuse.”

Rather than group all kinds of cruelty together, House Bill 1238 breaks down cruelty to animals into three categories based on the egregiousness of the offense, including:

• Neglect of an animal, which would include deny an animal necessary food and potable water, clean and sanitary shelter, or necessary veterinary care. This would be a summary offense. This would become a misdemeanor of the third degree if the violation causes bodily injury to the animal or places the animal in imminent risk of serious bodily injury.

• Cruelty to an animal, which would include intentionally, knowingly or recklessly ill-treating, overloading, beating, abandoning or abusing an animal. This would be a misdemeanor of the second degree.

• Aggravated cruelty to an animal, which would include intentionally or knowingly torturing an animal or causing serious bodily injury or death of the animal. This would be a felony of the third degree.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster

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