With some simple changes to state law, Pennsylvania can do much better in protecting animals being bred and used for research in Animal Testing Laboratories, and from kennels and dealers who face serious or multiple citations under the Dog and Cat Protection Act.
The three-bill package would restrict the import and sale of animals (not just beagles) from kennels and dealers with serious or multiple citations under the federal Animal Welfare Act, require those breeding dogs and cats for medical or scientific experimentation to keep records, enhance animal adoption and close loopholes in our animal cruelty law.
The bills, introduced in the Senate by state Senator Carolyn Comitta and in the House by state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro are as follows:
SB 701: A free standing bill, “Beagle Freedom Bill”
- Requires those who breed dogs and cats for sale to animal testing facilities and the testing facilities themselves to offer dogs and cats for adoption once the animals are no longer needed and adoption poses no risk to the animal or to the public.
- Prohibits the sale of dogs or cats bred by a kennel or by a person that has received certain serious or numerous citations for violations of the Animal Welfare Act as companion animals (pets) or for research purposes.
- Requires kennels selling dogs or individuals or businesses selling cats for research purposes to maintain records for individual animals and submit an annual summary of that to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
- Offers Whistleblower protection to employees who report violations of this act, the federal Animal Welfare Act, Title 18’s Cruelty to Animals Statute or the Dog Law.
- Establishes a third-degree misdemeanor for penalties.
- Requires annual reports to be submitted by the Department of Agriculture to the state legislature.
SB 702: Amending the Dog Law
- Prohibits the sale of dogs bred in kennels or by dealers from facilities that have received citations for violations of the Animal Welfare Act as pets or for medical experimentation.
- Currently the Dog Law allows kennel licenses to be revoked from violations of Pa Animal Cruelty laws or from similar violations of other state statutes. This bill would give the same authority to revoke a kennel license from a similar violation of animal cruelty laws based in federal law.
- Offers Whistleblower protection to employees who report violations of the Dog Law, Title 18’s Cruelty to Animals provisions or federal Animal Welfare Act.
SB 703: Amending Title 18 - Cruelty to Animals Statute
- Currently these provisions have a broad exemption to facilities “relating” to medical or scientific research
- This bill would narrow that exemption so that existing protections under the animal cruelty statute can be extended to animals bred for research and to animals possessed by testing labs not actively involved in bona fide scientific or medical research.
- Offers Whistleblower protection to employees who report violations of Title 18’s Cruelty to Animals statute, the Dog Law or federal Animal Welfare Act.