A Bill that was fast-tracked through the PA House of Representatives, Senate and signed by Governor Wolf is not what it claims to be. The statements to the media by its sponsors imply that it is only a restructuring of existing Cruelty Laws and some increase in the category of some of those offenses (i.e. from a summary offense to third degree misdemeanor). While those elements are in the House Bill 1238, there are also some troubling provisions in it that are not part of current PA Law.  This new Law is a disaster for anyone who values their Liberty and Rights.


The News

A Bill that addresses the issue of removing animals from vehicles in extreme temperatures is moving through the PA Senate. This Bill responsibly limits the authority to police officers, humane officers, firemen and other first responders.

We are concerned however that there is no protection for dog owners if the animal bites or harms the person removing the animal. Many dogs are very protective of their cars and will not understand if those breaking
in are there to help them.
Another concern is protection of dog owners should the authority be misused. While we would all love to think that everyone exercising such authority is doing so with the best intentions to help the animals, we have seen cases where similar authority was misused (i.e. the Willard dog seizure case).
We would like to see the following amendments to SB636:
(2) A person who witnesses an act under paragraph (1) may contact a police officer, a volunteer or professional fireman, humane officer, security guard or other first responder, who may take any reasonable and necessary action to safeguard the dog or cat, including, but not limited to, breaking into the motor vehicle to remove the dog or cat from the unattended motor vehicle after a reasonable effort to search for the owner or operator of the unattended motor vehicle.
(3) A police officer, a volunteer or professional fireman, humane officer, security guard or other first responder, and the department or agency employing the officer, is not liable for any damage to property resulting from reasonable and necessary actions taken under this section.
(4) A person whose dog or cat is removed from an unattended vehicle under this section shall not be liable for any injury to property or persons during the period that the dog or cat is under possession or control of another.