HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A state House committee has approved legislation that says Pennsylvanians can’t keep animals they abused once they’ve been convicted of cruelty.

House Bill 869, reported out of the House Judiciary Committee, would require owners to forfeit the animals to a shelter or rescue group.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro (D-Erie), said returning an animal to its abuser keeps the door open for further abuse.

“This legislation will go a long way in helping to prevent animal cruelty and let abusers know their actions will not be tolerated,” he said in a statement.

The measure is awaiting consideration in the full House.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download the ABC 27 News App and the ABC 27 Weather App for your phone or tablet.