‘Downton Abbey’ actress joins Capitol rally for pet store legislation


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A well-known television star was at the state Capitol on Monday to help lawmakers push for a bill that aims to crack down on puppy mills in Pennsylvania.

Lesley Nicol, best known for portraying the character Mrs. Patmore in “Downton Abbey”, spoke in favor of Senate Bill 44, known as Victoria’s Law.

Victoria’s Law would prohibit the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores unless they come from licensed shelters or rescues. Many puppy mills make their money by selling those animals to pet stores.

“The way to stop the puppy mills is you cut off their financial basis,” said Sen. Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester), a prime sponsor of the bill. “We’ve tried other ways. It hasn’t worked, and hopefully, this is what will work.”

“If that were you, if you were stuck in a place, couldn’t get out, couldn’t speak, couldn’t get any help because you couldn’t communicate, how desperate would that be?” Nicol said. “They totally and utterly rely on us, so if we don’t step up and help them, shame on us.”

The bipartisan bill has more than two dozen sponsors. It is currently in committee. Supporters hope to see it pass early in the fall.

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