Pa. bills would outlaw dog tethering, revenge pet cruelty

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Tethering dogs outdoors for long periods of time could result in animal cruelty charges under legislation introduced Monday by two Pennsylvania senators.

Senate Bill 373 would make tethering a dog to a stationary object illegal unless the dog needed to be temporarily restrained.

The dog would have to be monitored periodically, have a non-choking collar and a tangle-free tether at least 10 feet long, and have access to food, water, shade and shelter.

Dogs could be tethered no more than 30 minutes if the temperature is less than 32 or above 90 degrees.

Violators would face a summary charge of animal cruelty for their first offense. Second and subsequent offenses would be a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of at least $200.

The bill is among seven in a legislative package to help prevent animal cruelty.

Senators Rich Alloway (R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York) and Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) said the bills unveiled Monday would ensure fewer animals are subjected to mistreatment and inhumane living conditions.

Another measure, Senate Bill 78, would not allow kennel licenses to be issued to someone if an immediate family member had a kennel license revoked within the last 10 years. The new licensee would have to show their family member would have no role in the care of the dogs.

Under Senate Bill 373, a court could award up to $12,000 in civil penalties against someone who caused the unlawful or intentional harm or death of a pet and up to $5,000 in certain cases where a pet’s death is deemed negligent.

People who hurt or kill a pet to get back at an estranged spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or partner would face increased penalties if they have a protection from abuse order against them. Senate Bill 594 would raise the fine from a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $10,000 to at least $2,000 and up to $15,000.

Another proposal, Senate Bill 640, would allow people to have therapy dogs on public transportation. Service dogs, trained to help people with disabilities, are already allowed on public transportation.

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