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Proposed Pa. Law Would Cost Owners of Seized Animals

House Bill 82 would require people whose animals had been seized by the authorities to pay for their care pending the resolutions of their cases.

A new proposed state law would charge the owners of seized animals up to $15 per day per animal for the duration of a trial or any other legal proceedings that determined whether the animals would be returned to them.

House Bill 82, which passed the State House late last month by a vote of 163-34, is intended to help shelters and other facilities that care for seized animals to recoup their costs.

The Humane Society of the United States supports the law. The organization's Pennsylvania director, Sarah Speed, told the Chambersburg Public Opinion that the bill protects shelters, which often spend thousands of dollars caring for animals that have been seized from owners accused of animal cruelty or comparable charges.

Not everyone is satisfied with the bill's provisions.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has called the proposed law "problematic" and urged dog owners in the state to pressure their legislators to oppose the bill as currently written.

The AKC objects to the potential for animal owners to permanently lose ownership rights to the animals if they fail to pay the mandated maintenance costs at any time during a trial. According to the AKC, the costs of care during a trial could prove "extensive," even for animal owners who are ultimately exonerated of animal cruelty charges.

The bill will now be considered by the state Senate.

Joe February 07, 2013 at 12:22 AM
This is just another example of a dumb law. If it indended to addtionally punish those accused and convicted of animal cruelty, just make those penalties harsher. Otherwise it will just result in pets being euthanized because people cannot afford the fines. Some fix.
Stephen Eickhoff February 07, 2013 at 05:59 PM
And the money is refunded if they're exonerated, right? Nope. Guilty until proven innocent.
Barb Yuknick February 07, 2013 at 06:24 PM
I agree with the above. More companion animals will be euthanized because of costs unless they are held in no-kill facilities.
Shawnee February 12, 2013 at 02:50 AM
This is just stupid. These people can't even take care of their pets in the first place...let alone pay a fine.

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