Dinniman details continued fight against animal cruelty

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Senator Dinniman and rescue poodle, Jagger, with Melissa Falvo, mother of the late Justin Hayes, for whom Justin’s Foundation for Kindness is named.

WEST BRANDYWINE –  State Senator Andy Dinniman recently discussed his efforts to strengthen animal welfare laws and end puppy mills in Pennsylvania at the 3rd Annual Kindness Festival at West Brandywine Park.

The festival, organized by Justin’s Foundation for Kindness, raised funds to support Justice Rescue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing animals from abuse and neglect. Since 2011, Justice Rescue has taken in and rehabilitated nearly 3,000 dogs to loving forever homes.

Dinniman, who attended the festival with his rescue poodle, Jagger, offered an update on humane legislation in Harrisburg.

“We’ve come a long way in our efforts to protect our pets as beloved members of our families here in Pennsylvania, but there’s always a lot more work to do,” Dinniman said. “I want to thank both Justice’s Foundation for Kindness for their support, and Justice Rescue for being the boots on the ground in standing up against animal neglect and abuse.”

Specifically, Dinniman highlighted:

  • His Senate Bill 480, the Pet Protection from Domestic Abuse Act, which calls for strengthening Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Law to increase the penalty when animal abuse happens in a domestic-violence situation. This often occurs when an estranged spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend (who is under a protection from abuse order from a former partner) will get back at that individual by hurting or killing their pet in order to inflict emotional harm. The bill was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Senate Bill 1154 to prohibit the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores across Pennsylvania. The legislation is designed to move the pet market toward more humane sources by prohibiting Pennsylvania pet stores from selling puppies, kittens, and rabbits coming from inhumane mills that treat mother dogs, cats, and rabbits as nothing more than breeding machines and their offspring as mere products. Stores will be allowed to source from shelters and rescues and offer homeless animals for adoption, enabling them to be part of the pet overpopulation solution. Dinniman is the prime co-sponsor of this bill, which is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • His Senate Bill 636, the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, to prohibit leaving a dog or a cat in a hot vehicle. The legislation makes it a summary offense (punishable by a fine of up to $300) to confine a dog or cat in a vehicle under conditions that jeopardize the animal’s health. The bill also gives police officers, humane officers or other public safety professionals the authority to remove the dog or cat from the unattended motor vehicle if they believe the dog or cat is suffering and is in danger after a reasonable search for the owner or operator of the vehicle. The bill was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Dinniman has been a leader in the fight for stronger animal cruelty laws and humane legislation in the Commonwealth, including passing “Daniel’s Law” (Act 182 of 2012), which bans the carbon monoxide gassing of pet animals and other inhumane methods of euthanization.

Most recently, the legislature passed “Libre’s Law” (Act 10 of 2017), a comprehensive overhaul of Pennsylvania’s animal protection laws that increased penalties for severe animal abuse or neglect, extended protections to horses, and established limits on dog tethering, among other measures.

Dinniman thanked both Justin’s Foundation for Kindness and Justice Rescue for their efforts on behalf of animals and pets.

Named for the late Justin Hayes, Justin’s Foundation for Kindness, is a Chester County-based non-profit organization aimed at continuing the footprint of kindness acts started by Hayes before he lost his life in 2016. Its mission is to fight animal cruelty by assisting locally based rescues across the country that work to stop animal abuse and provide emergency care to rescued animals.

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