Full Statute Name:  Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes. Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses.Part II. Definition of Specific Offenses. Article F. Offenses Against Public Order and Decency. Chapter 55. Riot, Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses. Subchapter B. Cruelty to Animals

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Primary Citation:  18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5531 - 5561; 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3129 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  April, 2018 Alternate Citation:  PA ST 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5531 - 5561; PA ST 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3129
Summary: This document contains Pennsylvania's anti-cruelty laws that were amended in 2017. Section 5532 covers neglect of animal and states that a person who has care of animal must provide: (1) necessary sustenance and potable water; (2) access to clean and sanitary shelter and protection from the weather; and (3) necessary veterinary care. Violation is a summary offense unless the violation causes bodily injury or puts the animal in imminent danger of bodily injury (then, it is a misdemeanor of third degree). A person commits cruelty to animals (Sec. 5533) if he or she intentionally, knowingly or recklessly illtreats, overloads, beats, abandons or abuses an animal. Aggravated cruelty is provided by Sec. 5534 and is defined as torture, or neglect or cruelty that causes serious bodily injury or death of an animal. Such conduct is a felony of the third degree. Another section creates legal presumptions with regard to tethering of a dog that relate to the length of time tethered, the type of collar/tether, and even the outside temperature (both low and high temperatures). Section 5539 makes it unlawful to transport an equine animal in or upon a vehicle with two or more levels stacked on top of one another. The state also prohibits the cropping of dogs' ears, debarking of dogs, docking of dogs' tails, performance of surgical births of dogs, and declawing of cats by persons other than veterinary doctors while the animals are anesthetized. Animal fighting is prohibited in the chapter as a felony of the third degree. Other provisions concern selling of dog and cat pelts, live animals as prizes, and harassment of service and police animals. Exemptions under the act include state game/hunting laws, the killing of a dog or cat in accordance with the Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law, the killing of an animal found pursuing domestic animals/fowl, destruction of public nuisance dogs, pest control, "[s]hooting activities not otherwise prohibited under this subchapter," and the authorized use of research animals.
Statute Text: 

Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses. Part II. Definition of Specific Offenses. Article B. Offenses Involving Danger to the Person. Chapter 31. Sexual Offenses. Subchapter B. Definition of Offenses

§ 3129. Sexual intercourse with animal

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes. Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses.Part II. Definition of Specific Offenses. Article F. Offenses Against Public Order and Decency. Chapter 55. Riot, Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses. Subchapter B. Cruelty to Animals

§ 5531. Definitions

§ 5532. Neglect of animal

§ 5533. Cruelty to animal

§ 5534. Aggravated cruelty to animal

§ 5535. Attack of guide dog

§ 5536. Tethering of unattended dog

§ 5537. Selling or using disabled horse

§ 5538. Transporting animals in cruel manner

§ 5539. Transporting equine animals in cruel manner

§ 5540. Hours of labor of animals

§ 5541. Cruelty to cow to enhance appearance of udder

§ 5542. Animal mutilation and related offenses

§ 5543. Animal fighting

§ 5544. Possession of animal fighting paraphernalia

§ 5545. Killing homing pigeons

§ 5546. Skinning of and selling or buying pelts of dogs and cats

§ 5547. Live animals as prizes prohibited

§ 5548. Police animals

§ 5549. Assault with a biological agent on animal, fowl or honey bees

§ 5550. Fine and term of imprisonment for summary offense

§ 5551. Power to initiate criminal proceedings

§ 5552. Seizure of animals kept or used for animal fighting

§ 5553. Search warrants

§ 5554. Forfeiture

§ 5555. Prohibition of ownership

§ 5556. Civil immunity for licensed doctors of veterinary medicine, technicians and assistants

§ 5557. Civil immunity for humane society police officers

§ 5558. Representation of humane society by attorney

§ 5559. Construction of subchapter

§ 5560. Exemption of normal agricultural operations

§ 5561. Nonapplicability of subchapter

 

§ 5531. Definitions

The following words and phrases when used in this subchapter shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

“Accelerant detection dog.” A dog that is trained for accelerant detection, commonly referred to as arson canines.

“Animal fighting.” Fighting or baiting a bull, bear, dog, cock or other creature.

“Animal fighting paraphernalia.” A device, implement, object or drug used or intended to be used for animal fighting, to train an animal for animal fighting or in furtherance of animal fighting. In determining whether an object is animal fighting paraphernalia, a court or other authority should consider the following:

(1) Statements by an owner or by an individual in control of the object concerning its use.

(2) A prior conviction under Federal or State law relating to animal fighting.

(3) The proximity of the object in time and space to the direct violation of this subchapter.

(4) Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of the accused to deliver the object to persons whom the accused knows or should reasonably know intends to use the object to facilitate a violation of this subchapter.

(5) Oral or written instructions provided with or in the vicinity of the object concerning the object's use.

(6) Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict the object's use.

(7) All other logically relevant factors.

“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.

“Bodily injury.” Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.

“Bomb detection dog.” A dog that is trained to locate a bomb or explosives by scent.

“Certified veterinary technician.” As defined in section 3(13) of the act of December 27, 1974 (P.L. 995, No. 326),1 known as the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.

“Conveyance.” A truck, tractor, trailer or semitrailer, or a combination of these, propelled or drawn by mechanical power.

“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.” A dog, cat, equine animal, bovine animal, sheep, goat or porcine animal.

“Domestic fowl.” An avis raised for food, hobby or sport.

“Equine animal.” A member of the Equidae family, which includes horses, asses, mules, ponies and zebras.

“Humane society police officer.” As defined in 22 Pa.C.S. § 3702 (relating to definitions).

“Licensed doctor of veterinary medicine.” As defined in section 3(8) of the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.

“Narcotic detection dog.” A dog that is trained to locate narcotics by scent.

“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.

“Police animal.” An animal, including, but not limited to, dogs and horses, used by the Pennsylvania State Police, a police department created by a metropolitan transportation authority operating under 74 Pa.C.S. Ch. 17 (relating to metropolitan transportation authorities), a police department created under the act of April 6, 1956 (1955 P.L. 1414, No. 465),2 known as the Second Class County Port Authority Act, the Capitol Police, the Department of Corrections, a county facility or office or by a municipal police department, fire department, search and rescue unit or agency or handler under the supervision of the department, search and rescue unit or agency in the performance of the functions or duties of the department, search and rescue unit or agency, whether the animal is on duty or not on duty. The term shall include, but not be limited to, an accelerant detection dog, bomb detection dog, narcotic detection dog, search and rescue dog and tracking animal.

“Search and rescue dog.” A dog that is trained to locate lost or missing persons, victims of natural or manmade disasters and human bodies.

“Serious bodily injury.” Bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.

“Torture.” Any of the following acts directed toward or against an animal unless directed to be performed by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine acting within the normal scope of practice:

(1) Breaking, severing or severely impairing limbs.

(2) Inflicting severe and prolonged pain from burning, crushing or wounding.

(3) Causing or allowing severe and prolonged pain through prolonged deprivation of food or sustenance without veterinary care.

“Tracking animal.” An animal that is trained to track or used to pursue a missing person, escaped inmate or fleeing felon.

“Veterinary assistant.” As defined in section 3(14) of the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

Footnotes

1 63 P.S. § 485.3.

2 55 P.S. § 551 et seq.

 

§ 5532. Neglect of animal

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if the person fails to provide any of the following for each animal to which the person has a duty of care, whether belonging to himself or otherwise:

(1) Necessary sustenance and potable water.

(2) Access to clean and sanitary shelter and protection from the weather. The shelter must be sufficient to permit the animal to retain body heat and keep the animal dry.

(3) Necessary veterinary care.

(b) Grading.--

(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), a violation of this section is a summary offense.

(2) If the violation causes bodily injury to the animal or places the animal at imminent risk of serious bodily injury, a violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5533. Cruelty to animal

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly illtreats, overloads, beats, abandons or abuses an animal.

(b) Grading.--

(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), a violation of this section is a summary offense.

(2) If the violation causes bodily injury to the animal or places the animal at imminent risk of serious bodily injury, a violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5534. Aggravated cruelty to animal

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly does any of the following:

(1) Tortures an animal.

(2) Violates section 5532 (relating to neglect of animal) or 5533 (relating to cruelty to animal) causing serious bodily injury to the animal or the death of the animal.

(b) Grading.--A violation of this section is a felony of the third degree.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5535. Attack of guide dog

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if the person is the owner of a dog that kills, maims or disfigures a guide dog of an individual who is blind, a hearing dog of an individual who is deaf or audibly impaired or a service dog of an individual who is physically limited without provocation by the guide, hearing or service dog or the individual.

(b) Culpability.--A person commits an offense under this section only if the person knew or should have known that the dog the person owns had a propensity to attack human beings or domestic animals without provocation, and the owner knowingly or recklessly failed to restrain the dog or keep the dog in a contained, secure manner.

(c) Penalty.--A person convicted of violating this section shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $5,000 and shall be ordered to make reparations for veterinary costs in treating the guide, hearing or service dog and, if necessary, the cost of obtaining and training a replacement guide, hearing or service dog.

(d) Civil penalty and restitution.--

(1) A person who is the owner of a dog that kills, maims or disfigures a guide dog of an individual who is blind, a hearing dog of an individual who is deaf or audibly impaired or a service dog of an individual who is physically limited shall be subject to paragraph (2) if both of the following apply:

(i) The owner knew the dog had a propensity to attack human beings or domestic animals.

(ii) The owner failed to restrain the dog or keep the dog in a contained, secure manner.

(2) A court of common pleas may impose any of the following upon a person who is the owner of a dog under paragraph (1):

(i) A civil penalty of up to $15,000.

(ii) Reparations for veterinary costs in treating the guide, hearing or service dog and, if necessary, the cost of retraining the dog or of obtaining and training a replacement guide, hearing or service dog.

(iii) Loss of income for the time the individual is unable to work due to the unavailability of the guide, hearing or service dog.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5536. Tethering of unattended dog

(a) Presumptions.--

(1) Tethering an unattended dog out of doors for less than nine hours within a 24-hour period when all of the following conditions are present shall create a rebuttable presumption that a dog has not been the subject of neglect within the meaning of section 5532 (relating to neglect of animal):

(i) The tether is of a type commonly used for the size and breed of dog and is at least three times the length of the dog as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail or 10 feet, whichever is longer.

(ii) The tether is secured to a well-fitted collar or harness by means of a swivel anchor, swivel latch or other mechanism designed to prevent the dog from becoming entangled.

(iii) The tethered dog has access to potable water and an area of shade that permits the dog to escape the direct rays of the sun.

(iv) The dog has not been tethered for longer than 30 minutes in temperatures above 90 or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

(2) The presence of any of the following conditions regarding tethering an unattended dog out of doors shall create a rebuttable presumption that a dog has been the subject of neglect within the meaning of section 5532:

(i) Excessive waste or excrement in the area where the dog is tethered.

(ii) Open sores or wounds on the dog's body.

(iii) The use of a tow or log chain, or a choke, pinch, prong or chain collar.

(b) Construction.--This section shall not be construed to prohibit any of the following:

(1) Tethering a dog while actively engaged in lawful hunting, exhibition, performance events or field training.

(2) Tethering a hunting, sporting or sledding dog breed where tethering is integral to the training, conditioning or purpose of the dog.

(3) Tethering a dog in compliance with the requirements of a camping or recreational area.

(4) Tethering a dog for a period of time, not to exceed one hour, reasonably necessary for the dog or person to complete a temporary task.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5537. Selling or using disabled horse

A person commits a summary offense if the person offers for sale or sells a 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 humane keeping or destruction or for medical or surgical treatment.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5538. Transporting animals in cruel manner

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits a summary offense if the person carries, or causes or allows to be carried, in or upon any cart or other vehicle whatsoever an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner. The person taking the offender into custody may take charge of the animal and of the vehicle and the vehicle's contents, and deposit the same in a safe place of custody, and the necessary expenses that may be incurred for taking charge of and keeping the same, and sustaining the animal, shall be a lien thereon, to be paid before the same can lawfully be recovered, or the expenses or any part thereof remaining unpaid may be recovered by the person incurring the same from the owner of the animal in an action therefor.

(b) Exception.--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.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5539. Transporting equine animals in cruel manner

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person commits a summary offense for each equine animal if the person carries, or causes or allows to be carried, an equine animal in or upon a conveyance or other vehicle whatsoever with two or more levels stacked on top of one another. A person who violates this section on a second or subsequent occasion commits a misdemeanor of the third degree for each equine animal transported.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5540. Hours of labor of animals

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits a summary offense if the person leads, drives, rides or works or causes or permits another person to lead, drive, ride or work a horse, mule, ox or other animal, whether belonging to the person or in the person's possession or control, for more than 15 hours in a 24-hour period or more than 90 hours in one week.

(b) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to warrant a person leading, driving, riding or walking an animal for a period less than 15 hours, when doing so shall in any way violate the laws against cruelty to animals.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5541. Cruelty to cow to enhance appearance of udder

A person commits a summary offense if the person kneads or beats or pads the udder of a 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 the cow, or by a muzzle or any other device, prevents the cow's calf, if less than six weeks old, from obtaining nourishment, and thereby relieving the udder of the cow, for a period of 24 hours.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5542. Animal mutilation and related offenses

(a) Cropping of ear.--The following apply:

(1) A person commits an offense under section 5533 (relating to cruelty to animal) if the person crops, trims or cuts off, or causes or procures to be cropped, trimmed or cut off, the whole or part of the ear or ears of a dog.

(2) The provisions of this subchapter shall not prevent a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine from cropping, trimming or cutting off the whole or part of the ear or ears of a dog when the dog is anesthetized and shall not prevent a person from causing or procuring the cropping, trimming or cutting off of a dog's ear or ears by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine.

(3) The possession by a person of a dog with an ear or ears cropped, trimmed or cut off and with the wound or incision site 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 by the person, except as provided for in this subsection.

(4) A person who procures the cropping, trimming or cutting off of the whole or part of an ear or ears of a dog shall record the procedure. The record shall include the name of the attending licensed doctor of veterinary medicine and the date and location at which the procedure was performed. The record shall be kept as long as the wound or incision site is unhealed and shall be transferred with the dog during that period of time.

(b) Debarking.--The following apply:

(1) A person commits an offense under section 5533 if the person debarks a dog by cutting, causing or procuring the cutting of its vocal cords or by altering, causing or procuring the alteration of a part of its resonance chamber.

(2) The provisions of this subchapter shall not prevent a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine from cutting the vocal cords or otherwise altering the resonance chamber of a dog when the dog is anesthetized and shall not prevent a person from causing or procuring a debarking procedure by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine.

(3) The possession by a person of a dog with the vocal cords cut or the resonance chamber otherwise altered and with the wound or incision site resulting therefrom unhealed, or any such dog being found in the charge or custody of a person or confined upon the premises owned by or under the control of a person, shall be prima facie evidence of a violation by the person, except as provided in this subsection.

(4) A person who procures the cutting of vocal cords or the alteration of the resonance chamber of a dog shall record the procedure. The record shall include the name of the attending licensed doctor of veterinary medicine and the date and location at which the procedure was performed. The record shall be kept as long as the wound or incision site is unhealed and shall be transferred with the dog during that period of time.

(c) Docking of tail.--The following apply:

(1) A person commits an offense under section 5533 if the person docks, cuts off, causes or procures the docking or cutting off of the tail of a dog over five days old.

(2) The provisions of this subchapter shall not prevent a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine from docking, cutting off or cropping the whole or part of the tail of a dog when the dog is at least 12 weeks of age and the procedure is performed using general anesthesia and shall not prevent a person from causing or procuring the cutting off or docking of a tail of a dog by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine as provided in this subsection.

(3) The provisions of this subchapter shall not prevent a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine from surgically removing, docking, cutting off or cropping the tail of a dog between five days and 12 weeks of age if, in the licensed doctor of veterinary medicine's professional judgment, the procedure is medically necessary for the health and welfare of the dog. If the procedure is performed, it shall be done in accordance with generally accepted standards of veterinary practice.

(4) The possession by a person of a dog with a tail cut off or docked and with the wound or incision site 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 by the person, except as provided in this subsection.

(5) A person who procures the cutting off or docking of a tail of a dog shall record the procedure. The record shall include the name of the attending licensed doctor of veterinary medicine and the date and location at which the procedure was performed. The record shall be kept as long as the wound or incision site is unhealed and shall be transferred with the dog during that period of time.

(d) Surgical birth.--The following apply:

(1) A person commits an offense under section 5533 if the person surgically births or causes or procures a surgical birth.

(2) The provisions of this subchapter shall not prevent a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine from surgically birthing a dog when the dog is anesthetized and shall not prevent a person from causing or procuring a surgical birthing by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine.

(3) The possession by a person of a dog with a wound or incision site resulting from a surgical birth unhealed, or any such dog being found in the charge or custody of a person or confined upon the premises owned by or under the control of any person, shall be prima facie evidence of a violation by the person, except as provided in this subsection.

(4) A person who procures the surgical birth of a dog shall record the procedure. The record shall include the name of the attending licensed doctor of veterinary medicine and the date and location at which the procedure was performed. The record shall be kept as long as the wound or incision site is unhealed and shall be transferred with the dog during that period of time.

(5) This subsection shall not apply to personnel required to comply with standards to minimize pain to an animal set forth in section 2143(a)(3) of the Animal Welfare Act (Public Law 89-544, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.), trained in accordance with section 2143(d) of the Animal Welfare Act, who work in a federally registered research facility required to comply with the Animal Welfare Act under the guidance or oversight of a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine.

(e) Dewclawing.--The following apply:

(1) A person commits an offense under section 5533 if the person cuts off or causes or procures the cutting off of the dewclaw of a dog over five days old.

(2) The provisions of this subchapter shall not prevent a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine from cutting the dewclaw and shall not prevent a person from causing or procuring the procedure by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine.

(3) The possession by a person of a dog with the dewclaw cut off and with the wound or incision site resulting therefrom unhealed, or any such dog being found in the charge or custody of a person or confined upon the premises owned by or under the control of a person, shall be prima facie evidence of a violation by the person, except as provided in this subsection.

(4) A person who procures the cutting off of the dewclaw of a dog shall record the procedure. The record shall include the name of the attending licensed doctor of veterinary medicine and the date and location at which the procedure was performed. The record shall be kept as long as the wound or incision site is unhealed and shall be transferred with the dog during that period of time.

(f) Additional penalty.--In addition to any other penalty provided by law, upon conviction for conduct described in this section, the court may order the convicted person to undergo a psychological or psychiatric evaluation and to undergo treatment at the convicted person's expense that the court determines to be appropriate after due consideration of the evaluation.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5543. Animal fighting

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

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

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

(3) owns, possesses, keeps, trains, promotes, purchases, steals or acquires in any manner or knowingly sells an 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 a place under the person's control or possession to be kept or used for animal fighting.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5544. Possession of animal fighting paraphernalia

In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if the person knowingly owns or possesses animal fighting paraphernalia.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5545. Killing homing pigeons

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

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5546. Skinning of and selling or buying pelts of dogs and cats

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

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5547. Live animals as prizes prohibited

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

(b) Regulating certain actions concerning fowl or rabbits.--No person shall sell, offer for sale, barter or give 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 color, dye, stain or otherwise change the natural color of baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl or rabbits. This subsection shall not be construed to prohibit the sale or display of baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl or rabbits in proper facilities by persons engaged in the business of selling them for purposes of commercial breeding and raising.

(c) Exception.--

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

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

(d) Penalty.--A violation of this section constitutes a summary offense punishable by a fine of not more than $250.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5548. Police animals

(a) Illegal to taunt police animals.--It shall be unlawful for a person to intentionally or knowingly taunt, torment, tease, beat, kick or strike a police animal. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree.

(b) Illegal to torture police animals.--It shall be unlawful for a person to intentionally or knowingly torture, mutilate, injure, disable, poison or kill a police animal. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the second degree.

(c) Restitution.--In a 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 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.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5549. Assault with a biological agent on animal, fowl or honey bees

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits a felony of the second degree if the person intentionally, knowingly or maliciously exposes or causes to be exposed an animal, fowl or honey bees to a virus, bacteria, prion or other agent which causes infectious disease, including any of the following:

(1) Foot-and-mouth disease.

(2) Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease.

(3) Avian influenza.

(4) Varroa mite.

(b) Restitution.--The person convicted of violating this section shall, in addition to any other sentence imposed, be sentenced to pay the owner of the afflicted animal, fowl or honey bees restitution in an amount equal to the cost of the financial damages incurred as a result of the offense, including the following:

(1) Value of afflicted animal, fowl or honey bees.

(2) Disposal of afflicted animal, fowl or honey bees.

(3) Testing for disease on existing animal.

(4) Cleanup and sanitization of property and buildings on and in which afflicted animals, fowl or honey bees were located.

(5) Liability insurance for cleanup and sanitization workers.

(6) Soil testing of property.

(7) Loss of revenue for the aggrieved owner of afflicted animal, fowl or honey bees.

(c) Exceptions.--The provisions of this section shall not apply to research or veterinarian services, including immunizations, vaccinations or other treatments administered during the normal scope of practice.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5550. Fine and term of imprisonment for summary offense

Unless otherwise specifically provided, a person convicted of a summary offense under this subchapter shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $750 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5551. Power to initiate criminal proceedings

An agent of a society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals, incorporated under the laws of this Commonwealth, shall have the same powers to initiate criminal proceedings provided for police officers by the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. An agent of a society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals, incorporated under the laws of this Commonwealth, shall have standing to request a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin a violation of this subchapter.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5552. Seizure of animals kept or used for animal fighting

A 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 an animal kept, used or intended to be used for animal fighting. When the seizure is made, the animal or animals seized shall not be deemed absolutely forfeited but shall be held by the officer or agent seizing the animal or animals until a conviction of a person is first obtained for a violation of section 5543 (relating to animal fighting) or forfeiture is obtained under the act of July 9, 2013 (P.L. 263, No. 50),1 known as the Costs of Care of Seized Animals Act. The officer or agent making the seizure shall make due return to the issuing authority of the number and kind of animals or creatures seized by the officer or agent. Where an animal is seized, the police officer or agent is authorized to provide the care that is reasonably necessary and, where an animal 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 a violation of section 5543 shall order the forfeiture or surrender of an abused or neglected animal of the defendant to a 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.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5553. Search warrants

Where a violation of this subchapter is alleged, an issuing authority may, in compliance with the applicable provisions of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, issue to a police officer or an agent of a 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 a building or an enclosure in which a violation of this subchapter 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 seized is found to be neglected or starving, the police officer or agent is authorized to provide the care that is reasonably necessary and, where any animal 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 of the animal, 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 a violation of this subchapter 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 subchapter which authorizes a 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.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5554. Forfeiture

(a) General rule.--Except as provided under subsection (b), in addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for a violation of this subchapter may order the forfeiture or surrender of an abused or neglected animal of the defendant to a society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals duly incorporated under the laws of this Commonwealth.

(b) Forfeiture required for felony offense.--If the conviction under this subchapter is for an offense graded as a felony, the authority imposing sentence shall order forfeiture or surrender of an abused or neglected animal of the defendant to a society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals duly incorporated under the laws of this Commonwealth.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5555. Prohibition of ownership

Notwithstanding any provision of law and in addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for a violation of this subchapter may order the prohibition or limitation of the defendant's ownership, possession, control or custody of animals or employment with the care of animals for a period of time not to exceed the statutory maximum term of imprisonment applicable to the offense for which sentence is being imposed. A humane society police officer, law enforcement officer or State dog warden shall have authority to ensure compliance with this section and may notify the local district attorney who may petition the court to remove animals kept in violation of this section.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5556. Civil immunity for licensed doctors of veterinary medicine, technicians and assistants

(a) General rule.--A licensed doctor of veterinary medicine, certified veterinary technician or veterinary assistant who reports, in good faith and in the normal course of business, a suspected violation of this subchapter to the proper authority shall not be liable for civil damages as a result of reporting the incident.

(b) Nonapplicability.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to an act or omission intentionally designed to harm or to an act or omission that constitutes gross negligence or willful, wanton or reckless conduct.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5557. Civil immunity for humane society police officers

(a) General rule.--A humane society police officer acting in good faith and within the scope of the authority provided under this subchapter shall not be liable for civil damages as a result of an act or omission in the course of an investigation or enforcement action.

(b) Nonapplicability.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to an act or omission intentionally designed to harm or to an act or omission that constitutes gross negligence or willful, wanton or reckless conduct.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5558. 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 a proceeding under this subchapter by an attorney admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and in good standing. Attorney fees shall be borne by the humane society or association that is represented.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5559. Construction of subchapter

The provisions of this subchapter shall not supersede the act of December 7, 1982 (P.L. 784, No. 225),1 known as the Dog Law.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5560. Exemption of normal agricultural operations

Sections 5532 (relating to neglect of animal), 5533 (relating to cruelty to animal), 5534 (relating to aggravated cruelty to animal), 5536 (relating to tethering of unattended dog) and 5543 (relating to animal fighting) shall not apply to activity undertaken in a normal agricultural operation.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

 

§ 5561. Nonapplicability of subchapter

(a) Game law.--This subchapter shall not apply to, interfere with or hinder any activity which is authorized or permitted under 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to game) or the regulations promulgated under those laws.

(b) Exemptions.--The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to the following:

(1) The killing of a dog or cat by the owner of that animal if it is accomplished in accordance with the act of December 22, 1983 (P.L. 303, No. 83),1 known as the Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law.

(2) The killing of an animal found pursuing, wounding or killing a domestic animal or domestic fowl.

(3) The killing of an animal or fowl under 34 Pa.C.S. §§ 2384 (relating to declaring dogs public nuisances) and 2385 (relating to destruction of dogs declared public nuisances) or regulations promulgated under 34 Pa.C.S. §§ 2384 and 2385.

(4) Reasonable activity that may be undertaken with vermin control or pest control.

(5) Shooting activities not otherwise prohibited under this subchapter.

(6) Conduct that is lawful under the laws of the United States or this Commonwealth relating to activities undertaken by a research facility that is one of the following:

(i) Registered and inspected under the Animal Welfare Act (Public Law 89-544, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.).

(ii) Subject to the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals provided for under the Public Health Service Act (58 Stat. 682, 42 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.).

(iii) Subject to the provisions of 21 CFR Pt. 58 (relating to good laboratory practice for nonclinical laboratory studies) under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (52 Stat. 1040, 21 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.) or the Public Health Service Act.

Credits

2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017].

Footnotes

1 3 P.S. § 328.101 et seq.

18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5561, PA ST 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5561

 

Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses. Part II. Definition of Specific Offenses. Article B. Offenses Involving Danger to the Person. Chapter 31. Sexual Offenses. Subchapter B. Definition of Offenses

§ 3129. Sexual intercourse with animal

A person who engages in any form of sexual intercourse with an animal commits a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Credits

1999, June 18, P.L. 67, No. 8, § 1, effective in 60 days.

 

 

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