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Pennsylvania Anti-Cruelty Law

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Here is a list, with pictures, of cited and/or convicted animal abuse cases that we have dealt with.

PENNSYLVANIA LAWS RELATING TO THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.

PENNSYLVANIA CRIMES CODE
TITLE: 18-SECTION 5511
As of May, 2001

(a) Killing, maiming or poisoning domestic animals or zoo animals, etc.--

(1) A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he willfully and maliciously:

(i) Kills, maims or disfigures any domestic animal of another person or any domestic fowl of another person.

(ii) Administers poison to or exposes any poisonous substance with the intent to administer such poison to any domestic animal of another person or domestic fowl of another person.

(iii) Harasses, annoys, injures, attempts to injure, molests or interferes with a dog guide for an individual who is blind, a hearing dog for an individual who is deaf or audibly impaired or a service dog for an individual who is physically limited.

Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this paragraph shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $ 500.

(2) A person commits a felony of the third degree if he willfully and maliciously:

(i) Kills, maims or disfigures any zoo animal in captivity.

(ii) Administers poison to or exposes any poisonous substance with the intent to administer such poison to any zoo animal in captivity.

(2.1) (i) A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he willfully and maliciously:

(A) Kills, maims, mutilates, tortures or disfigures any dog or cat, whether belonging to himself or otherwise.

(B) Administers poison to or exposes any poisonous substance with the intent to administer such poison to any dog or cat, whether belonging to himself or otherwise.

(ii) Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this paragraph shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $ 1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than two years, or both. The courtmay also order a presentence mental evaluation. A subsequent conviction under this section shall be a felony of the third degree. This paragraph shall apply to dogs and cats only.

(iii) The killing of a dog or cat by the owner of that animal is not malicious if it is accomplished in accordance with the act of December 22, 1983 (P.L.303, No.83), referred to as the Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law.

(3) This section shall not apply to:

(i) the killing of any animal taken or found in the act of actually destroying any domestic animal or domestic fowl;

(ii) the killing of any animal or fowl pursuant to the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1225, No. 316), known as The Game Law, or 34 Pa.C.S. 2384 (relating to declaring dogs public nuisances) and 2385 (relating to destruction of dogs declared public nuisances), or the regulations promulgated thereunder; or

(iii) such reasonable activity as may be undertaken in connection with vermin control or pest control.

(b) Regulating certain actions concerning fowl or rabbits.--

A person commits a summary offense if he sells, offers for sale, barters, or gives away baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl, under one month of age, or rabbits under two months of age, as pets, toys, premiums or novelties or if he colors, dyes, stains or otherwise changes the natural color of baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl, or rabbits or if he brings or transports the same into this commonwealth. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the sale or display of such baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl, or such rabbits, in proper facilities by persons engaged in the business of selling them for purposes of commercial breeding and raising.

(c) Cruelty to animals.--

A person commits a summary offense if he wantonly or cruelly ill-treats, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care, whether belonging to himself or otherwise, or abandons any animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather and preserve the animal's body heat and keep it dry. This subsection shall not apply to activity undertaken in normal agricultural operation.

(d) Selling or using disabled horse.--

A person commits a summary offense if he offers for sale or sells any horse, which by reason of debility, disease or lameness, or for other cause, could not be worked or used without violating the laws against cruelty to animals, or leads, rides, drives or transports any such horse for any purpose, except that of conveying the horse to the nearest available appropriate facility for its humane keeping or destruction or for medical or surgical treatment.

(e) Transporting animals in a cruel manner.--

A person commits a summary offense if he carries, or causes, or allows to be carried in or upon any cart, or other vehicle whatsoever, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner. The person taking him into custody may take charge of the animal and of any such vehicle and its contents, and deposit the same in some safe place of custody, and any necessary expenses which may be incurred for taking charge of and keeping the same, and sustaining any such animal, shall be a lien thereon, to be paid before the same can lawfully be recovered, or the said expenses or any part thereof remaining unpaid may be recovered by the person incurring the same from the owner of said creatures in any action therefor.

For the purposes of this section, it shall not be deemed cruel or inhumane to transport live poultry in crates so long as not more than 15 pounds of live poultry are allocated to each cubic foot of space in the crate.

(f) Hours of labor of animals.--

A person commits a summary offense if he leads, drives, rides or works or causes or permits any other person to lead, drive, ride or work any horse, mare, mule, ox, or any other animal, whether belonging to himself or in his possession or control, for more than 15 hours in any 24 hour period, or more than 90 hours in any one week.

Nothing in this subsection contained shall be construed to warrant any persons leading, driving, riding or walking any animal a less period than 15 hours, when so doing shall in any way violate the laws against cruelty to animals.

(g) Cruelty to enhance appearance of udder.--

A person commits a summary offense if he kneads or beats or pads the udder of any cow, or willfully allows it to go unmilked for a period of 24 hours or more, for the purpose of enhancing the appearance or size of the udder of said cow, or by a muzzle or any other device prevents its calf, if less than six weeks old, from obtaining nourishment, and thereby relieving the udder of said cow, for a period of 24 hours.

(h) Cropping ears of dog; prima facie evidence of violation.--

A person commits a summary offense if he crops or cuts off, or causes or procures to be cropped or cut off, the whole, or part of the ear or ears of a dog or shows or exhibits or procures the showing or exhibition of any dog whose ear is or ears are cropped or cut off, in whole or in part, unless the person showing such dog has in his possession either a certificate of veterinarian stating that such cropping was done by the veterinarian or a certificate of registration from a county treasurer, showing that such dog was cut or cropped before this section became effective.

The provisions of this section shall not prevent a veterinarian from cutting or cropping the whole or part of the ear or ears of a dog when such dog is anesthetized, and shall not prevent any person from causing or procuring such cutting or cropping of a dog's ear or ears by a veterinarian.

The possession by any person of a dog with an ear or ears cut off or cropped and with the wound resulting therefrom unhealed, or any such dog being found in the charge or custody of any person or confined upon the premises owned by or under the control of any person, shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this subsection by such person except as provided for in this subsection.

The owner of any dog whose ear or ears have been cut off or cropped before this section became effective may, if a resident of this commonwealth, register such dog with the treasurer of the county where he resides, and if a nonresident of this commonwealth, with the treasurer of any county of this commonwealth, by certifying, under oath, that the ear or ears of such dog were cut or cropped before this section became effective, and the payment of a fee of $ 1 into the county treasury. The said treasurer shall thereupon issue to such person a certificate showing such dog to be a lawfully cropped dog.

(h.1) Animal fighting.--

A person commits a felony of the third degree if he:

(1) for amusement or gain, causes, allows or permits any animal to engage in animal fighting;

(2) receives compensation for the admission of another person to any place kept or used for animal fighting;

(3) owns, possesses, keeps, trains, promotes, purchases or knowingly sells any animal for animal fighting;

(4) in any way knowingly encourages, aids or assists therein;

(5) wagers on the outcome of an animal fight;

(6) pays for admission to an animal fight or attends an animal fight as a spectator; or

(7) knowingly permits any place under his control or possession to be kept or used for animal fighting.

This subsection shall not apply to activity undertaken in a normal agricultural operation.

(i) Power to initiate criminal proceedings.--

An agent of any society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals, incorporated under the laws of the commonwealth, shall have the same powers to initiate criminal proceedings provided for police officers by the pennsylvania rules of criminal procedure. An agent of any society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals, incorporated under the laws of this commonwealth, shall have standing to request any court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin any violation of this section.

(j) Seizure of animals kept of used for animal fighting.--

Any police officer or agent of a society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals incorporated under the laws of this commonwealth, shall have power to seize any animal kept, used, or intended to be used for animal fighting. When the seizure is made, the animal or animals so seized shall not be deemed absolutely forfeited, but shall be held by the officer or agent seizing the same until a conviction of some person is first obtained for a violation of subsection (h.1). The officer or agent making such seizure shall make due return to the issuing authority, of the number and kind of animals or creatures so seized by him. Where an animal is thus seized, the police officer or agent is authorized to provide such care as is reasonably necessary, and where any animal thus seized is found to be disabled, injured or diseased beyond reasonable hope of recovery, the police officer or agent is authorized to provide for the humane destruction of the animal. In addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for any violation of subsection (h.1) shall order the forfeiture or surrender of any abused, neglected or deprived animal of the defendant to any society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals duly incorporated under the laws of this commonwealth and shall require that the owner pay the cost of the keeping, care and destruction of the animal.

(k) Killing homing pigeons.--

A person commits a summary offense if he shoots, maims or kills any antwerp or homing pigeon, either while on flight or at rest, or detains or entraps any such pigeon which carries the name of its owner.

(l) Search warrants.--

Where a violation of this section is alleged, any issuing authority may, in compliance with the applicable provisions of the Pennsylvania rules of criminal procedure, issue to any police officer or any agent of any society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals duly incorporated under the laws of this commonwealth a search warrant authorizing the search of any building or any enclosure in which any violation of this section is occurring or has occurred, and authorizing the seizure of evidence of the violation including, but not limited to, the animals which were the subject of the violation. Where an animal thus seized is found to be neglected or starving, the police officer or agent is authorized to provide such care as is reasonably necessary, and where any animal thus seized is found to be disabled, injured or diseased beyond reasonable hope of recovery, the police officer or agent is authorized to provide for the humane destruction of the animal. The cost of the keeping, care and destruction of the animal shall be paid by the owner thereof and claims for the costs shall constitute a lien upon the animal. In addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for any violation of this section may require that the owner pay the cost of the keeping, care and destruction of the animal. No search warrant shall be issued based upon an alleged violation of this section which authorizes any police officer or agent or other person to enter upon or search premises where scientific research work is being conducted by, or under the supervision of, graduates of duly accredited scientific schools or where biological products are being produced for the care or prevention of disease.

(m) Forfeiture.--

In addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for any violation of this section may order the forfeiture or surrender of any abused, neglected or deprived animal of the defendant to any society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals duly incorporated under the laws of this commonwealth.

(m.1) Fine for summary offense.--

In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person convicted of a summary offense under this section shall pay a fine of not less than $ 50 nor more than $ 750 or to imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.

(n) Skinning of and selling or buying pelts of dogs and cats.--

A person commits a summary offense if he skins a dog or cat or offers for sale or exchange or offers to buy or exchange the pelt or pelts of any dog or cat.

(o) Representation of humane society by attorney.--

Upon prior authorization and approval by the district attorney of the county in which the proceeding is held, an association or agent may be represented in any proceeding under this section by any attorney admitted to practice before the supreme court of Pennsylvania and in good standing. Attorney's fees shall be borne by the humane society or association which is represented.

(o.1) Construction of section.--

The provisions of this section shall not supersede the act of December 7, 1982 (p.l.784, no. 225), known as the dog law.

(p) Applicability of section.--

This section shall not apply to, interfere with or hinder any activity which is authorized or permitted pursuant to the act of June 3, 1937 (p.l.1225, no. 316), known as the game law or title 34 (relating to game).

(q) Definitions.--

As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Animal fighting." fighting or baiting any bull, bear, dog, cock or other creature.

"Audibly impaired." the inability to hear air conduction thresholds at an average of 40 decibels or greater in the better ear.

"Blind." having a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correction or having a limitation of the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angular distance not greater than 20 degrees.

"Deaf." totally impaired hearing or hearing with or without amplification which is so seriously impaired that the primary means of receiving spoken language is through other sensory input, including, but not limited to, lip reading, sign language, finger spelling or reading.

"Domestic animal." any dog, cat, equine animal, bovine animal, sheep, goat or porcine animal.

"Domestic fowl." any avis raised for food, hobby or sport.

"Normal agricultural operation." normal activities, practices and procedures that farmers adopt, use or engage in year after year in the production and preparation for market of poultry, livestock and their products in the production and harvesting of agricultural, agronomic, horticultural, silvicultural and aquicultural crops and commodities.

"Physically limited." having limited ambulation, including, but not limited to, a temporary or permanent impairment or condition that causes an individual to use a wheelchair or walk with difficulty or insecurity, affects sight or hearing to the extent that an individual is insecure or exposed to danger, causes faulty coordination or reduces mobility, flexibility, coordination or perceptiveness.

"Zoo animal." any member of the class of mammalia, aves, amphibia or reptilia which is kept in a confined area by a public body or private individual for purposes of observation by the general public.

Pennsylvania crimes code, title 18-section 5511.1

Live animals as prizes prohibited.

(a) General rule.--

No Person shall give or offer to give away any live animal, except fish, as prize in any drawing, lottery, contest, sweepstakes or other game. No person operating any drawing, lottery, contest, sweepstakes or other game shall sell or offer to sell any live animal, except fish, in conjunction, with the operation of a drawing, lottery, contest, sweepstakes or other game.

(b) Exception.--

(1) This section shall not apply to any domestic animal given away in connection with any agricultural, educational, or vocational program sponsored or sanctioned by the Department of Agriculture.

(2) Department of Agriculture shall promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to provide the conditions and requirements of live animal offerings under this subsection.

(c) Construction of section.--

The provisions of this section shall not supersede the act of December 7, 1982 (P.L.784, No. 225), known as the Dog Law.

(d) Penalty.--

A violation of this section constitutes a summary offense punishable by a fine of not more than $250.

Pennsylvania crimes code, title 18-section 5511.2

Police Animals

(a) Illegal to taunt police animals.--

It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously taunt, torment, tease, beat, kick or strike a police animal. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree.

(b) Illegal to torture police animals.--

It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously torture, mutilate, injure, disable, poison or kill a police animal. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree.

(c) Restitution.--

In any case in which a defendant is convicted of a violation of subsection (a) or (b), the defendant shall be ordered to make restitution to the agency or individual owning the animal for any veterinary bills, for replacement costs of the animal if it is disabled or killed and for the salary of the animal's handler for the period of time the handler's services are lost to the agency.

PENALTIES

Summary Offense. A summary conviction under Act 5511 involves a fine of not less than $50 or more than $750 and/or imprisonment for not more than 90 days. (Refer to section 5511(m) permits the District Justice to order forfeiture or surrender of an abused animal.

Misdemeanor of the Second Degree. The Penalty for a second degree misdemeanor is a maximum fine of $5,000.00 and/or imprisonment for not more than two (2) years.

Misdemeanor of the First Degree. Within the cruelty law, a violation of subsection 5511 (2.1) (i), dealing with the killing, maiming or torturing a dog or cat only, is a second degree misdemeanor. This section dictates that the offender be sentenced to a minimum fine of $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to two years. This section also permits the court to order a pre-sentence mental evaluation.

Felony of the Third Degree. The penalty for a third degree felony is a maximum fine of $15,000.00 and/or imprisonment for not more than seven years.

Disclaimer: The information referenced above is intended for informational purposes only. Any and all questions should be directed to an attorney, local law enforcement and/or the ASPCA. All Animal Protection, Inc. is not responsible for the content of the above information or any damages that may result from the use of the above information.

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